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Mayor Eric Adams’ Leadership Faces Challenges after Police Commissioner Resigns

Critics Question Mayor Eric Adams’ Management Style After Key Departures from City Hall

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is facing a fresh challenge after his history-making police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, resigned, sparking concerns about the young administration’s stability.

At present, Adams is involved in two stand-offs with the City Council, as negotiations over the city’s $106 billion spending plan for 2024 continue, and he pushes back against the expansion of the city’s housing voucher program that he opposes.

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David Birdsell, provost at Kean University in New Jersey, believes that Adams’ lack of a larger vision is contributing to a “process of repetitive flailing”, adding: “There is no center that holds.”

Sewell’s resignation came without prior warning, shattering a quick succession of institutional departures in high post positions at City Hall.

Adams’ management style has been criticized, with some suggesting that he operates as if he is trying to run the entire city himself, leaving his team out of the loop.

Comparisons have been made to former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s approach, where commissioners were empowered to manage their departments, allowing Bloomberg to play a more strategic role, absent of administrative tasks.

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Adams has defended his style, arguing that he has a unique management approach and has 320,000 employees.

He dismissed suggestions of high staff turnover during the first 18 months of his administration, stating that people don’t sign up to be ‘lifers’, they come and provide their expertise, and that he does not stand in the way of a person’s desire to pursue their career.

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Critics were quick to point out that Sewell’s resignation following allegations that the mayor had used his power to interfere with disciplinary action taken against a close friend further undermined public confidence in Adams’ leadership.

Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf identified three main challenges that Adams now faces: “migrants, crime as there’s still a sense to the citizens that crime is up, and it’s the budget.”

One of the battlefronts that Adams is currently embroiled in is over the city’s housing voucher program. Adams is strongly opposed to its expansion, a move that sparked much debate and led to threats of veto by Adams despite a lack of votes to support him.

The issue highlights a fundamental difference in attitude between the Mayor and the City Council, which has long been advocating for wider access to affordable housing for lower-income city residents.

Adams took a combative stance on the voucher program, demonstrating his unwillingness to compromise. Conservatives are sure to applaud such steadfastness, believing that it exemplifies strength and determination.

Adams, it could be said, is not afraid to ruffle feathers, nor is he concerned about upsetting people, especially those who stand in the way of achieving the city’s objectives.

Adams’ opponents suggest that his approach to managing the city is shortsighted and scattergun. While he has initiatives in place, they claim that his focus and approach are reactive rather than proactive, which is where his critics believe his administration is falling short.

Effective policymaking and governance require a more strategic approach, planning for the future and anticipating problems before they arise.

Michael Bloomberg had a well-defined strategy for the city during his time as mayor which he communicated effectively to his team and to the public.

His approach was more methodical than Adams’, focusing on the long-term vision and empowering his commissioners to manage their departments effectively with little interference. It allowed Bloomberg to be more strategic, working on the bigger picture goals of his administration.

Unlike Bloomberg, Adams places himself at the center of the solution rather than his team. As a result, he is often on the back foot, reacting rather than leading.

The departure of key figures like Sewell undermines Adams’ authority and adds fuel to the perception that the young mayor is struggling under the pressure.

It is still early days for Adams, but he needs to sharpen his focus and build a clear vision for the city that extends beyond his term in office.

The success of his predecessors, such as Bloomberg, demonstrate that it is possible to have a transformative impact on the city, provided there is clear leadership and strong guiding principles.

Criticism of Adams’ approach highlights the differences in the way conservatives and progressives view governance.

Both sides agree on the importance of good governance and robust policymaking, but conservatives believe in a more hands-off approach, with less government intervention in the economy.

They argue that this leads to greater prosperity, as businesses are freer to pursue their objectives without being hampered by excessive regulation.

Conservative voters are looking for strong leadership that is not afraid to take decisive action, as they believe that this is necessary to achieve the goals of their administration. They are not interested in compromise and are not afraid to take tough decisions in the pursuit of their vision for the city.

If Adams is to succeed, he needs to appeal to the conservative demographic and convince them that his leadership style is the right approach for the city.

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Doing so would provide him with the platform he needs to effect real change and leave a lasting legacy. The key to achieving this is by charting a new course for the city, one that is guided by a clear vision and strong leadership.

The challenges that Adams faces are not insurmountable, but it will require a significant change in attitude and approach.

He needs to build a team of trusted advisors around him and empower them to manage the city’s departments effectively. It will require a degree of trust and delegation that he has yet to demonstrate but is crucial if he is to succeed.

Adams’ lack of a clear vision and his reactive approach are undermining his administration, but it is not too late for him to turn things around.

By building a more collaborative approach to governance, where all stakeholders have a voice, he will be able to build a consensus for change and achieve his goals for the city.

The departure of Sewell and the pressure heaped on Adams by the City Council represent significant challenges to his administration, but they are not insurmountable.

With a new approach to governance, building a strong team, and a clear vision for the city’s future, he could yet achieve what his predecessors did and leave a lasting legacy.


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