To hear Mayor Eric Adams tell it, there is a gathering fiscal storm — and the city must prepare.
“Everyone has stated we’re about to be hit with a tsunami,” Adams said Tuesday.
On Monday, Adams directed city agencies to make budget cuts for the third time since taking office. Half of all vacant positions must be eliminated and agencies must come up with their own ways to fund new initiatives.
Tuesday, at an unrelated news conference, the mayor responded to criticism of those cuts, hitting back at critics while arguing the city is facing stiff financial headwinds.
What You Need To Know
Adams on Monday directed city agencies to make budget cuts for the third time since taking office
He responded to criticism of those cuts on Tuesday, arguing the city is facing stiff financial headwinds
The mayor also defended the exemption for uniformed positions like police officers, citing a crime surge
City agencies must eliminate half of all vacant positions and come up with their own ways to fund new initiatives
“I was reading one of the articles where somebody said, ‘well, we’re just posturing,’” he said. “I wish I was just posturing. We are in financial trouble, and the country’s in financial trouble, and I have to be financially prudent.”
The migrant crisis, which could cost the city up to $1 billion in the absence of federal or state help, has exacerbated the city’s budget woes.
City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams took issue with the move to slash headcount.
“It’s really perplexing,” she told reporters Tuesday. “We’re scrutinizing it right now, but the city can’t afford to lose staff in those agencies that really are relied upon to address the multiple crises we’re facing.”
Meanwhile, city Comptroller Brad Lander in a statement Monday voiced concerns the cuts will make it increasingly difficult for the city to recruit and retain staff. The mayor, in response, pointed to vacancies in Lander’s office.
“I just think that he needs to focus on his office in delivering services because there’s a lot of services he must do,” Adams said.
The mayor also defended the exemption for uniformed positions like police officers, citing a crime surge. He says the NYPD has achieved savings by, for instance, reducing the number of officers at parades.
“We are utilizing and deploying police better,” he said.
But, he added, there is “one thing we cannot ever compromise on. And that’s safety.”