New York Mayor Eric Adams vows NYPD to be spared worst of hiring freeze

Mayor suggests cuts begin with his own office and other agencies.

Updated: November 25, 2022 - 9:48am

As many New York City government agencies face a partial hiring freeze, Mayor Eric Adams said one that won’t be hit as hard will be the city’s police force.

That’s not to say there won’t be a review for efficiencies, but in talking with reporters Tuesday, Adams drew a firm line on a possible reduction of hiring NYPD uniformed officers at the moment. “One thing we cannot ever compromise on…that’s safety,” Adams said. “I said it over and over, public safety is a prerequisite to our prosperity. That’s our economic stimulus. If we are unsafe, we will not be able to survive as a city.”

The mayor’s comments came a day after city Comptroller Brad Lander expressed concerns regarding a letter city Office of Management and Budget Director Jacques Jiha sent to city agencies. Jiha told agency leaders they will have to slash half of their vacant positions in their budgets.

Lander said he agrees the city needs to save money ahead of an expected economic downturn. Still, he added the agencies also need to be able to properly serve the public.

“Today’s directive to agencies furthers our concerns about recruiting and retaining the staff needed to implement critical programs from traffic safety improvements to processing housing applications,” Lander said.

Adams said Lander may need to look within his own office first. “What’s very interesting, and I could be wrong, but I have to check on it. I believe we have a 6% citywide vacancy rate (in) the mayor’s office,” Adams said. “I believe the comptroller has a 17% vacancy rate, and so if he’s starting with my 6%, I’m going to have a problem doing services, what is he going to do with 17%?”

Adams, a former police officer wrapping up his first year as mayor, campaigned on slashing the NYPD’s overtime. However, in his first year, overtime costs have gone up.

The police department has cut down on some costs, with Adams noting the city has saved by utilizing police more effectively at parades.

And right now, how the NYPD is being deployed is working, he said, because violent crimes are trending downward.

“Voters tell me every time when I’m on the trains, when I’m on the buses, when I’m walking the streets, they are concerned about crime,” Adams said. “And the omnipresence of a police officer assists that…We have to keep doing the right things, and once we can stabilize this ship on what I believe are some of the problems we had in the past, then we can look at really digging into bringing back some of that overtime. But right now, I have to make sure the city’s safe.”