While Mayor Eric Adams was crisscrossing the city, salting his front steps and defending his decision to keep schools open on the first snowfall of the season, his administration was also continuing to take shape - this time, with friends and family appointed to top-level positions.
The New York Post first reported the mayor will tap his brother Bernard Adams, a retired NYPD sergeant, to serve as NYPD deputy commissioner for governmental affairs.
The appointment raises questions about Adams’ legal authority, or the police department’s authority, to hire a family member of the mayor, a move that is typically prohibited by the city's nepotism rules and may require special dispensation from the city's Conflicts of Interest Board.
It's not clear if Adams has sought an opinion from the board, which cited confidentiality rules that prevent the agency from disclosing if a waiver has been requested.
City Hall did not return several requests for comment.
Bernard Adams' appointment followed the news that Phil Banks was named to the post of deputy mayor for public safety. Although the appointment had long been expected, it was announced in a somewhat unusual manner.
Banks, a former NYPD chief of department and close personal friend of Adams, announced his new job in an op-ed column in the Daily News Friday morning. There was no press conference, as Adams has done with other deputy mayor appointments.
John Kaheny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, a good government group, said he'd never heard of a deputy mayor announcing his own position.
"There is a lot to like with Eric Adams and his swagger and his optimism, but this is craziness with Phil Banks," Kaheny said.
Banks used the op-ed as an opportunity to defend himself from the cloud of suspicion that has engulfed him since he stepped down from the NYPD in 2014.
Banks was named by the federal government as "an unindicted co-conspirator" in a NYPD corruption scheme involving businessmen Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who were trying to corrupt police officials in order to obtain special favors from the department.
“I was never charged with any crime as part of that investigation, which is why I never felt it necessary to address the reports," Banks wrote.
“The question here isn’t what is legal or what is prudent, it’s what is in the public interest,” Kaheny said. “If a person is listed as an unindicted co-conspirator, it means the prosecutors thought they were directly involved in that conspiracy. It really raises questions about whether Adams is thinking about his duty to the public or his friendship to Banks."
Banks will be charged with helping to implement Adams' public safety agenda across different agencies, including the NYPD. Evidence revealed he accepted high-priced meals, tickets to sporting events and travel from the two businessmen. Both were later convicted.
In the op-ed, Banks said it was “a mistake” to have associated with the two men and apologizes for his actions.
Adams, a longtime friend since their early days at the NYPD, has been a staunch defender. Speaking on Mornings on 1 this week, he defended Banks and said he wanted to appoint a deputy mayor for safety to ensure there is coordination across different agencies.
"Phil Banks has been an amazing law enforcement officer. He has an amazing amount of talents," Adams said "He has helped me during the process of going through my transition. I think that he has an invaluable skill for this city."