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Transcript: Mayor Eric Adams Announces City has Unlocked More Than $4.2 Billion in Contractual Dollars for Nonprofits Through "Clear the Backlog Initiative"

July 29, 2022

Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Strategic Initiatives: Good morning. It is a good morning, indeed. Yes. Today is indeed a celebratory moment of getting stuff done.

Deputy Mayor Wright: Yes. Yes. This administration embarked on a Clear the Backlog Initiative to right a simple wrong. Nonprofit providers like the people in this room... Are the nonprofits in the house? Yes. Who perform essential services for communities were just not getting paid on time. The government was not doing its part, plain and simple. Our mayor said enough is enough. In an interagency effort, 10 agencies worked tirelessly in partnership with the comptroller over 12 weeks. And that's what brings us here today. I'm now excited to introduce our first speaker, Mayor Adams, to share the results of our 12 month initiative.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. And here at Mercy Center, it is really fitting because they were saying, "Mercy, mercy me." And this is the part of our administration — it's not the sexy part, but it's the important part. And people have asked over and over again, what are the three things you're going to do? What is the one big thing you're going to do? The one big thing is make government work. Make government work. And you're going to look and see how we are going to partner with our partners in the Council, the borough president, the state, our comptroller, and just make government work. You can't continue to spend a hundred and something billion dollars of taxpayers' dollars and we keep getting this inferior product. And this is what we are doing.

Mayor Adams: The comptroller and I spoke immediately after the primaries. And we stated, "Let's zero in on those things that are making our government inefficient." And at the top of the list was what we were doing to nonprofits. We had them on the front line doing the most difficult work, filling the gap. Yet when it was time to pay them for their services, we had them go through the bureaucracy that got in the way. And I'm just really proud, the comptroller and I put the team together to make sure it happened in the right way. Thanks so much, comptroller, for what you partnered with us and accomplished. And their job is real. You don't realize every day because they're doing it so well so you don't even realize the gap they are filling. From learning and teaching people how to learn metal work, construction, and design, to helping immigrants fight for their rights to feeding people with food pantries, to do an afterschool program, the anti-violence work, going to hospitals and dealing with people who are the victims of domestic violence.

Mayor Adams: All around us are the nonprofits as they are helping, preventing evictions after COVID. There were a number of families who were on the verge of eviction of dealing with the pressing issues that are impacting our entire city. And I know how important nonprofits are. It was the Salvation Army as a child that was there for our family over and over again, just giving their work and services to our family. We had this Clear the Backlog Initiative. People said it was not possible, but we knew it was. And over the last 12 weeks, we were able to clear up and unlock $4.2 billion in money that 460 large and small providers — think about that. $4.2 billion was bottle-necked, and we were able to clear over 2,600 contracts. We have dealt with more than two-thirds of the city's backlog, more than two-thirds. 12 weeks, more than two-thirds of the city backlogs in contracts. Government inefficiency forced some providers to take loans, they were unable to pay salaries. And now look at the next level of that. Many of the employees were Black and brown and overwhelmingly women.

Mayor Adams: The rippling effect was actually turning the needs of those nonprofits to the service providers needing nonprofits so they can stay in their own homes. That's what this backlog was doing. Providers even struggled to put food on the table for their own employees and families. Paying our nonprofit providers on time has a positive rippling effect throughout our entire city. It allows them to deliver services right when they're needed, pay employees. It allows them to ensure that they are given the services that they want to provide. And right here in the borough of the Bronx, according to a 2020 report, more than a third of all workers are employed by nonprofits. More than a third of all workers are employed by nonprofits. You can't just continue to allow the boulder of bureaucracy to crush these good people that are doing good work. Or the red tape to tie them up and being able to keep the lights on, or this beautiful space like here to provide the service that they want to. And we're going to continue to improve because our nonprofit providers deserve it and New Yorkers expect it.

Mayor Adams: This has taken a team effort to cut through a thorny jungle of procedures. And again, this team came together being led by my two deputy mayors, Deputy Mayor Wright and Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom, and a real partnership as I stated. The comptroller has an awesome job to make sure he monitors the dollars of cities, residents, and taxpayers. And there's some uncomfortable moments when you're doing that, but there are too many areas that we agree. And that is what we said from the start, "Let's look at the areas we agree, you do your job of making sure you monitor our agencies. And when we can stand side by side to show the efficiency of government, we are going to do that." And that's what Brad Lander did. And then Director Lisa Flores. She just spearheaded this using her ability to find where the problems are. It was one of the most important acquisitions we made in this administration. And what she's doing is just amazing as we continue to streamline the processes that are just getting in the way of getting stuff done.

Mayor Adams: We want to make sure that our systems are as transparent and as efficient as possible. Never forget that your city government answers to you. And we are going to make sure to answer loud and clear. Clearing the nonprofit backlog is the clear signature of this organization, this administration of getting stuff done. You can't get stuff done if bureaucracy is in the way of getting stuff done. And when you look at this administration, you are going to leave with a more efficient government. We have been wasting taxpayers' dollars. I cannot say that enough. What is my signature issue? Get my government to be efficient, productive, and produce a better product than we have produced with taxpayers' dollars. Thanks, this entire team. I want to thank the nonprofits who are here providing these services every day. We could not do what we do in this city without you. And so today, instead of you saying, "Mercy, mercy me," you're saying, "Finally, they heard us and they got it done." And we're going to continue to get it done. Thank you, Deputy Mayor.

Deputy Mayor Wright: As the mayor mentioned, this is only the beginning. Our goal was not just clearing the backlog, but also preventing another one from ever happening, really fixing it, not just dealing with the symptoms, but getting to the root cause. Under the upcoming Mayor's Office of Nonprofit Services, we're going to operationalize and institutionalize the work that we have done. This administration has already showed its expertise and experience in making government work in these six and a half, seven months that we've been here and it's time to continue that work. Because the reality is more than ever, we need our nonprofit partners to tackle the issues that we have today. We need upstream solutions to tackle the causes of systemic issues. And these providers are all upstream and they need the resources to do their work. Next up, I would like to introduce our commissioner, one of our fearless leaders for this effort of the Mayor's Office of Contract Services, Director Lisa Flores.

Lisa Flores, Director, Mayor’s Office of Contract Services: Thank you. Thank you, Mayor Adams, and good morning, everyone. It is truly an honor to be standing here with you today and all of those responsible for ensuring the success of Clearing the Backlog Initiative, the people who actually did the work. And let me just say, I've been in government for a long time. And wow, $4.24 billion unlocked for nonprofit providers for over 2,600 contracts, as the mayor said, in just 12 weeks. That's years of backlog in 12 weeks. And I'm sure everyone sitting up here agrees that this is just the first step of rebuilding our relationship of trust with our nonprofit providers. And they are really the lifeblood as Mercy Center of our communities.

Flores: We began this journey under extraordinary leadership of Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Wright and Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom in partnership, with our partners in the comptroller's office, the City Council, and fellow agencies with the intent to place the highest priority on procurement, which no one usually likes to pay attention to, and the operational success to make sure that our work had the highest possible impact for the downstream, which are the clients that receive these services, and for our valued partners in the human services sector and all the New Yorkers that they serve. This is the type of initiative and commitment that you hope to work on as a public servant. The city collectively acknowledges there's a problem. You map out the solution, and stakeholders for many levels of government all come together and follow it through to completion. The challenge seemed insurmountable, but it was met with a necessary dedication, unprecedented collaboration to get it done.

Flores: And I want to commend the agency project managers, some of which are here today, and agency staff who frankly moved mountains within their agencies to make sure business as usual was not the case here. And the results speak for themselves. Among them are members of my team who are amazing and really bond and get stuff done to the core. Anne Volari, [inaudible], and Tali Ledger. Thank you so much for all of your work, because my work is really your work and I'm nothing without all of you. And we would not have achieved so much in such a short period of time without all of you.

Flores: That being said, the work continues. To our not-for-profit partners, I want to say that we acknowledge that there is a lot more work to be done. And there's a long list of recommendations over the many years of procurement bureaucracy that have built up for us to continue implementing. And we look forward to fixing the underlying processes and the policies that got us here in the first place so that we never have to have a backlog initiative again. And we'll continue to get stuff done. Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Wright: Thanks so much, commissioner. I also want to give a shout out to Michael Sedillo who really helped drive us home. I'm so pleased to introduce our comptroller. He knows what it feels like to lead a nonprofit and he has been steadfast in his commitment to this community and this industry and particularly in his new role. He started off, as the mayor said, during the transition, really with this idea to really have a joint task force to focus on this issue. And so, so proud and pleased to work alongside you, Comptroller Brad Lander.


Deputy Mayor Wright: Thank you, Brad. The next speaker really represents a big part of the reason that we are here. Mercy Center is an incredible organization. I am from the Bronx. [Inaudible] that's right, has done incredible work for decades and decades. We're just so proud and pleased to have him as a partner with the City of New York, Executive Director Steve Strich.


Mayor Adams: We have three dynamic electeds, and I just want to give them a minute because they know what these nonprofits mean to us and mean to this borough and mean to the city. Just want to give a moment to the amazing borough president of the Bronx, Vanessa Gibson, Councilwoman Ayala and Councilwoman Won. Because we get these contracts through them. All right, electeds.


Mayor Adams: Well said. Well said. Well said. We're going to bring the check and all ... Come here, Brad. Let's see. They going to write their story.

Mayor Adams: But one sentence should really focus on the subtext of what you just stated. Brad and I are probably on some issues so far apart. But for these men and women in government to say we have our philosophical differences on things, but what are the things we agree on? We agree nonprofits should be paid, and they should be paid on time. This is a symbol of how between elections how you get work done. It's only the beginning. We are going to continue to say, how do we get this inefficient city to function?

Mayor Adams: I told Brad when I ran for office, "Audit us. Look into every agency," because we acknowledge there are problems. With his auditing power, he's able to go into our agencies and say, "Here's the problem." And then we can go in and fix it.


Mayor Adams: And the headlines is more attractive when Adams and Brad clash, but give us a headline of Adams and Brad…


Mayor Adams: Alright, Michael?

Mayor Adams: Okay. We're going to open to on-topic. On-topic.

Question: Hey, good morning, mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you, Katie?

Question: Thanks. I wanted to ask, I know a lot of different agencies contract out to nonprofits, but maybe the MOCS commissioner can answer this better.

Mayor Adams: Yep.

Question: Which agency has the biggest log jam or the biggest delays? Do you have a list of it? And do you know why some agencies, it might just be the volume of nonprofit say contract out to? But I don't know if you have any data on which agencies kind of have the biggest delays when it comes out to paying nonprofits.

Flores: Yeah, we definitely, as part of this initiative started to build a practice of monitoring performance. And so we definitely know from the contract volume there are certain agencies that have huge volume that are conducive of moving through the process faster if it's all the same type of contract. And then we have agencies that have very complex contracts that take longer. And I think really what's important at this stage is that we use this process to really learn where the pain points are and then learn from them. And really we monitor the performance, not to say you're doing a bad job.

Flores: And that's a real shift. It's not to blame. It's not to point fingers. It's where are the problems? And then how do we find solutions to address those problems? And so we had two-thirds of the backlog cleared in 12 weeks and we still have a third to go and we're not taking our eye off the ball. And we're going to continue with the deputy mayors and their support. And actually agencies have come together and provided resources for their sister agencies, all hands on deck to continue moving those contracts that still haven't gone through. And in fact, some of the contracts in the backlog were not only delayed one fiscal year, they were delayed multiple fiscal years, two and three plus fiscal years. And so we did a lot, but we have a lot to do, and we're going to make sure that we provide the support to get through them.


Question: Which agencies? I'm not asking someone to be singled out, but I'm just curious, which ones have kind of the bigger log jam and which ones are a little bit simpler?

Mayor Adams: Well, and we don't want to do just that. Because as was just mentioned, we don't want to play "I got you, you fail." We want to improve. And we are going to consistently monitor. So we don't want to single out any particular agencies because in many cases, it's not their fault. It's a system that built a culture of basically telling the nonprofits, "We'll get to you when we get to you." And we are just changing that system. I see you reminding me.

Question: Why was there such a long jam and what's in place now to prevent this from happening again?

Mayor Adams: Good thing you wore your favorite beads because you're going to be here. [Laugher.]

Flores: I've been doing procurement for a long time and it's a multitude of multi-layered reasons. One, I think what you've seen displayed here in terms of collaboration has not happened in the past. And collaborating with the comptroller’s office, it is an unprecedented partnership. It's an unprecedented partnership to even have discussions with the Council about how do we change a process going forward. And that's a big piece that can't be overlooked. But also the rules that we have now are based on decades and decades of bureaucracy that have built up oftentimes to address a particular issue. There's a scandal, there's a problem. Right?

Flores: And so everyone says, "Let's add more processes to protect ourselves from that happening," but no one ever goes to the process of, "Well, now let's remove some." Right? And so we really are going through the process and that's why it's so important to have laser focused and the commitment across all layers of government. And that procurement is important. Nothing gets done without procurement. It's really a representation of the values of the administration. And so as we go through this process and will continue beyond the backlog initiative, it's being hyper focused on what state law, what local law, what burdensome processes can we untangle and really be procurement system for this day and age. Not one from… We have rules that say you can buy a VHS tape. Right? We got to move forward.

Deputy Mayor Wright: Can I add to that? Can I just add to that? Because I think there's another thing. Quite frankly, we've just taken advantage of nonprofits, because we know that Mercy Center's going to do the work, that they're going to provide the services for children and their families, whether they get paid or not. And it's a different system for for-profit companies. They're not going to do the work until they get the check. And so that is also a part of it. It's about respect and valuing our nonprofits as our partners.


Question: I have a question on. The comptroller mentioned the Financial Control Board and looking at things like let's change the process, but make sure we're not allowing for malfeasance. What is the process? Like that, for example, but I know there are other ones to change that. Mayor Adams, can you just say "We're changing this as a matter of policy" or does the Council have to pass bills? How does that work exactly?

Mayor Adams: It's a great question. And no, I can't just say "Let's change this," because if I do that Michael's going to be writing a story on it. So I just can't do that.


Mayor Adams: No. Each area that we will like to change, we have to identify who has the oversight to determine how do we present that change and how we get the approval for that change? So the team looked at here are areas we believe we need to change, they're outdated. And now we're going to follow, okay, how do we get that change? Some things we could discretionary change, but those things that we can't, we're going to follow the right procedures and make sure they get done the correct way.

Question: One more question too. And this maybe is for Commissioner Flores. This backlog that you guys have tried to address now, is there anything unique about it compared to other ones? Was it in part caused by COVID or was it really just kind of another example of how the processes created this situation?

Flores: I would say that it's sort of a perfect storm. You had not-for-profits obviously previous fiscal years, as many have said, who continue to show up when we need them. Not only show up for the work they're contracted for, but in emergencies to show up for work that we ask them to do to meet the needs of the community. And so with the pressure of COVID, with the pressure of the economy and then really just everyone trying to get the work done of addressing COVID in the immediate, there are multiple years that things sort of did not necessarily have full focus. And there are multiple years that really it's just a symptom of the problem of every time that we do a new initiative, every time we add money, we're often doing that through amendments.

Flores: And so agencies make progress and then they have to double back and start all over again. Right? And that's a huge part of what we want to change going forward, both what we can change without any legal changes or approvals, but also really we're trying to be as bold as possible in the future. And everything's on the table so that we never have to be here again. And that the not-for-profits who are our partners, who really are an extension of us, we can't do any of the services that we provide without our nonprofit partners, that we have a relationship that really values that partnership and that we're never here again.

Question: Yes. My question is the one third that's left, is there anything special about them that they didn't get cleared within the 12 weeks? Are they more complex? Are those some of the longer contracts that have unusual hiccups in them?

Flores: It's a number of factors. I think part of this initiative that really was wonderful to watch was the collaboration within agencies and the focus from the commissioner on down throughout the city government of procurement's importance. And so we learned a lot of lessons just that we hope to continue in terms of that collaboration. But we also, as I said earlier, learned that there are some pressure points within agencies and with their portfolios, in some cases that have external funding. It's not just city funding. So there are other steps. In some cases that have other partnerships that are part of the decision making process to move forward. And at some point there were also decisions made over many years of perhaps adding programming without necessarily having the full scope of what it was going to cost, and doubling back again. And so there's a lot of reasons for it.

Flores: But as I said before, the beauty of this initiative is that we were able to be laser focused. And we have commissioners who sent staff to other agency staff, and they're still there. We're going to continue to do that collaboration until we get through this. And hopefully also figure out how do we have a procurement system where we have more standardization. Right? To your point, it is so complex and this agency has this problem, this agency has this problem, but we need to have a process going forward where 99% of what goes through just goes through. To Comtroller Lander's point in terms of asking vendors and not-for-profit partners and MWBE vendors for a myriad of information for every single transaction they have with us, it should be one relationship. It doesn't matter to them if they have a contract with this agency and that agency, it's still the city. And so we have to really move forward in being more standard and so that the longer time period is really just for those items that actually deserved a longer time period, and not just because we have this bureaucracy.

Mayor Adams: And that's it. Quoting what the commissioner just stated, we have been operating the city as every agency as a separate city. People have to come to the city, one agency, give all this basic information. Then you go back to the next agency, give all this basic information. Then you go to the third, give all the ... So we have been operating one city, but separated per agency to be a separate city. We're saying no to that. We're all in this together. And some of the stuff we're going to be rolling out, that is going to be one connection with the city agency, and then we share the data.

Mayor Adams: The person should not have to go from agency to agency to share the data. That's what the MyCity card is about. Within the next couple of months, we're just going to roll out some good stuff. And this city can run better. We going to have an Office of Nonprofit that's set up so they can go directly to someone. Melanie La Rocca, who's the first of his kind, chief efficiency officer. You have to see some of the stuff that we discovered that's going to come out of the Chief Efficiency Office. It's unbelievable how the city was actually functioning in previous years. And we're going after every area to have a more efficient city.

Mayor Adams: Yep. Yep. Okay. Let me spare you guys.


Mayor Adams: Hold on, hold on, Brad, they doing some off-topic. I'm not going to leave until I talk to you. Okay? Let me finish with the media. Let's do a few off-topics.

Question: Mayor, I have two questions. First is about monkeypox. The state health commissioner has now described monkeypox as an imminent threat. The city Health Department has not used that verbiage, and there are reports today that a senior epidemiologist has moved out of the office after a dispute about how seriously to treat monkeypox. What is your view on this? And what is your message about how serious this is?

Mayor Adams: So we're going to deal with it in two levels. First part, I commend the governor in calling it a state of emergency. So important. It's going to free up things that she can do. I think it's crucial to do so. Dr. Vasan, the commissioner in charge of our Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, he's still making that determination. It will free up and allow me to do certain things that we do the same thing in the city. And he's going to make that determination. About the personnel that was transferred, we don't talk about personnel policies and what we do with our personnel, but we do it in a fair way. That is how we do it.

Question: My second question's about the asylum mission. You know my colleague Melissa Russo has been reporting on this. Last night, she reported that when Texas sends migrants to New York in recent days, the federal government has given them some kind of an arbitrary address, a social services office, and that they've been going to buildings and facilities that don't have proper services and that even important documents like their next court hearing, et cetera, have been forwarded to those improper addresses. So what Melissa wanted to know is, given your good contacts with the Biden administration, are you going to do something to try and streamline this and make sure, first of all, they're not sent to the wrong place, and second of all, that their important documents are not sent to the wrong place?

Mayor Adams: Yeah, this is the first time we've become aware of this, and we're going to zero in on it. We don't have any of the documents. And I hope if someone has one, we can actually see what's happening. I was out yesterday at Bedford-Atlantic shelter, and it was pretty amazing to see how many of the men who are seeking assistance, how many of them were from Venezuela, was from other locations. I spoke with several of them. Many had a problem with English. And so there's some things we want do on the ground. But we are not aware of if they're doing that, and we're going to look into it because it should not happen if it is.

Question: Thank you.

Question: Mr. Mayor, I wanted to ask about the school budget situation. I know things are kind of in flux, given the court situation. I wanted to see where things stand within your negotiations now with Council leadership and what's happening inside DOE right now as far as principals trying to understand what September is going to look like for them with all of this confusion.

Mayor Adams: Well, we follow the judges. The judge made the determination nothing should happen until they look over the documents that were filed. And we're going to follow that, and we're going to follow the judge's ruling. We're going to exhaust everything we must do to make sure that we get the children a quality education and deal with the financial crisis we're facing. So there's not much we can say now, because now it's in the hands of the court and the Corporation Counsel made it clear that they don't want us talking on this topic while it’s in front of a judge.

Question: [Inaudible] the Council about changes in funding at this point.

Mayor Adams: Well, the Council can't change anything now because the judge told everyone, "Hit the pause button." And we have to follow what the judge states.

Question: Mayor, good morning.

Mayor Adams: How's it going?

Question: Two quick questions on monkeypox. One, we know that more supply of the vaccine was announced by the CDC [inaudible] New York too. The first question is, can you identify where and how the distribution of them is going to have [inaudible]? And then two, if you can address the appointment process. There's some people saying trying to get an appointment to get the vaccine has been problematic for some.

Mayor Adams: Yeah. All of the vaccines that we had and all of the appointments are out. We are continuing to send a clear message to Washington and to the state. 90% of the cases are in New York City. We were not receiving our proportionate share and the White House has attempted to correct that. And as we get them in, we're setting up appointments right away. The website is up and running. There was a few glitches when outsiders had the website. We are now in control of it and it's up and operating. As soon as we're able to put more appointments out there, we're going to do so when we get the vaccines.

Question: Are you comfortable with what you're hearing coming from the DOH? They're answering the questions and you're holding them to the [inaudible].

Mayor Adams: From Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, or from the-

Question: Yeah. From the whole DOH.

Mayor Adams: Yes, I am. Yes, I am.

Question: Lee Zeldin's repeatedly talked about how you two agree on changing the bail laws. I mean, how do you feel about the Republican nominee constantly talking about how you two agree on this?

Mayor Adams: Well, listen, when you look at the fact that Congressman Zeldin was one of the few congressmen that voted against the simple, smart way of dealing with gun violence, it's clear that we are not aligned with public safety. That is why I endorsed Governor Hochul, and we have made it clear that we're going to work together. She was an amazing partner for me when I left Albany during my first visit and no one wanted to deal with the public safety issue. I reached out to the governor and she made it clear we had to make change. And I commend her for that, and that's why I endorsed her.

Mayor Adams: And clearly, Lee and I are not aligned on public safety. He just refuses to deal with the over-proliferation of guns, not vote on the gun bill that passed through Congress, a bipartisan bill. And so I'm clear that my choice for governor is Governor Hochul, and I cannot be anymore clearer than that. And so the mere fact he's commending me, that should give comfort to everyone who likes my endorsement and I made the right endorsement. And so I hope he tells them to vote for who I endorsed. That would be a good win.

Question: Yes. My follow up to that question is, you mentioned the other day about juveniles and looking at all of that and them carrying guns. I wonder, is that a suggestion to possibly have lawmakers look at Raise the Age legislation that passed a couple years ago that changed the age of accountability and lowered it and why some of these teens are going to family court? Is that something that you've been talking about with leadership at the state level? Is that something you want them to look back at?

Mayor Adams: Here's what I am saying to my state lawmakers. Let's do an analysis of the crimes that we are seeing, particularly the violent crimes, the gun crimes, the robberies. Let's look at those and say to ourselves, "What happened back then and what happened now?" This is what we are going to find. There's an increase in who's committing crimes of younger people, and there's an increase on the victims of crime that are younger people. So once we find out what the problem is, we need to go back and fix anything we did that caused the problems we're facing right now. Everything should be on the table. That is what happens when you ... Look, you make a law, if it has a negative impact of a dramatic proportion, we need to reexamine that law we made. And I've had conversations with my lawmakers around that.

Question: Hey, Mayor Adams, I wanted to ask you, I don't know if you've read the reporting this week by my colleagues in The City about Bishop Lamor Whitehead, he's alleged by a parishioner of stealing her life savings. And I know he also owes money on some apartments he owns in Connecticut. He hasn't paid the mortgage. I wanted to ask if you've spoken to him this week since his incident on Sunday, but then also how you would describe your relationship. I know in the past you've described him as a good friend and brother. So I don't know if that's shifted at all, or if you want to just ...

Mayor Adams: I have many relationships with people. And the Bishop lost his dad, Arthur Miller was his name, during a police incident. And I heard from the Glover family and other families, I have always maintained relationships with people who have gone through traumatic experiences. And my goal is to mentor people who go through crises. And I have a list of so many. I mean, you guys have written about these relationships I have with people who are in dark places because I was in a dark place, and I will continue to do that. I checked in after the robbery. The robbery would go through his normal investigation and bring the people who are guilty to justice. But I am focused on running the city. And Lamor and any other individual that I support, I continue to try to mentor. As a Black man, I have an obligation to mentor other Black men that had negative encounters in their lives and other people in general. And that's what I will continue to do.

Question: Yes. Mr. Mayor, you spoke with Assembly Speaker Heastie. How were you following up with him? You said you wanted to give him statistics.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: On the repeat felony offenders. And also, have you considered showing him what's going on in the precinct in his district, in the 47th precinct, and what crimes are occurring in that precinct?

Mayor Adams: We're going to give him the stats on particularly the repeated offenders. We're going to give him the stats. I have sort of a belief that those private conversations, I don't go into. But he's a very knowledgeable law maker. He raised concern about public safety. He's concerned about public safety, just as I am. We may have a philosophical disagreement on how to tweak the laws that are in place, but he and I are both on the same page. He's concerned about guns. He's concerned about the national impact of guns, and he has shared that. And so I don't think he is not aware of what's happening in the Bronx and what's happening throughout the state and throughout the country. As he shared, he said, "This is a national problem that we have to address."

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: Another question on Bishop Whitehead. If it turns out the allegations are substantiated in this court case, what do you think you're going to say to him? I mean, does your... I heard what you said about wanting to mentor people, but does that change in a way if it turns out that was substantiated?

Mayor Adams: No one's above the law. We all have to follow the law. I spent my life enforcing the law, and I will continue to say it to all New Yorkers, friends and foes and allies and enemies, that you have to follow the law. And I think that we have a great system of determining if someone violated a law or rule, and that is up to the courts to decide. If there is a case in front of a judge, the judge will make that decision.

Question: So is there a criminal investigation into those allegations?

Mayor Adams: No, I think it was a lawsuit.

Question: Yeah, but is there a criminal investigation?

Mayor Adams: I'm not aware. Okay.

Question: Thank you.


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