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Mayor Adams’ early work schedules show focus on COVID and crime


On a Sunday in late May, Mayor Adams met about 1 p.m. with his public safety czar, Phil Banks. Around 5 p.m., he joined a Zoom call with city agencies including the Police Department.

Then, for good measure, he held another meeting about 5:30 p.m. with Banks and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, according to detailed schedules his office released this month.

The day, May 22, was not out of the ordinary. In Adams’ first six months, multi-meeting days with Banks — a scandal-scarred former chief of department whom Adams praises for his law enforcement know-how — were common, according to the schedules.

The calendar shows Adams fixing his attention on COVID and crime in the busy opening months of his mayoralty. Coronavirus briefings remained a fixture atop his daily agendas into the summer, but have since dropped to twice per week, according to his office.

Sid Davidoff, who has advised several New York mayors and reviewed the schedules, said he believes Adams is primarily focused on a handful of areas.

“Besides the COVID briefings early on, his major meetings and briefings really deal with police, education and housing,” Davidoff said. “He leaves running the rest of the government to his deputies.”

“He’s constantly meeting with Phil Banks,” Davidoff added. “He’s constantly meeting with the police commissioner.”

Banks, who was described by prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a public corruption case before he was selected by Adams as a deputy mayor, has appeared to hold a uniquely central role in addressing crime. Banks has rejected the notion that as a senior cop he traded favors for compensation; he was not charged with wrongdoing.

On Friday, Feb. 11, Adams had at least three COVID-related conferences before noon, according to his schedules. He met with Banks in the afternoon, and wrapped up his workday in a 5 p.m. meeting with state Attorney General Letitia James, the schedules said.

The calendar spans from Jan. 4 to June 30 and does not offer an all-encompassing account of Adams’ priorities. Contained on messy, redacted spreadsheets, the schedules at times show Adams doubled-booked or attending vaguely described meetings.

A headline-grabbing dinner with former Gov. Andrew Cuomo does not appear, though a Feb. 10 dinner with Gov. Hochul at Lincoln Center is noted. The mayor’s frequent texting with Sewell is not marked in the agenda’s rows and columns, nor are many of the mayor’s daily phone calls.

Still, the calendar, obtained by the Daily News through a Freedom of Information request and previously published by City & State, pulls back the curtain on portions of the mayor’s opening months. It presents a picture of a mayor quick to jump at a photo opportunity or to prepare for a parade, even as he grapples at all hours with rising crime and a lingering COVID threat.

Adams did not take any days off, working through weekends, and started his average workday around 7:57 a.m., according to an analysis of the schedules.

His spokesman Fabien Levy said texts from the mayor often begin to come in much earlier and end after midnight.

Meetings with the schools chancellor, David Banks, speckle Adams’ schedules. But topics like transportation and sanitation appeared further from the forefront. David Banks is Phil Banks’ brother.

The calendar ends before a surge of migrants bused from Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott started to overwhelm the city’s shelter system. The embattled commissioner for homeless services, Gary Jenkins, appears sparingly on the calendar, though it shows him and Adams joining for two meetings on March 31.

Adams blocked off time on several days to speak with former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has served as a trusted adviser. Former Mayor Bill de Blasio, whom Adams also has leaned on for advice, is absent from the calendar.

Sometimes, Adams’ official workdays dragged on long after dark. An hour-long meeting on gang violence was set to begin at 10 p.m. on Feb. 15, according to the schedules.

On May 15, a Sunday, a 40-minute Zoom call was scheduled to begin at 11:15 p.m.

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