• Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

Adams holding off on Randy Mastro hire ‘out of respect’ for NYC Council amid budget talks: adviser

Adams holding off on Randy Mastro hire 'out of respect' for NYC Council amid budget talks: adviser


Mayor Adams has been holding off on formally tapping controversial litigator Randy Mastro to become the city government’s new top lawyer “out of respect” for the City Council as it works to hammer out a municipal budget, according to a top adviser to the mayor.

The mayor’s office first confirmed on April 18 that he was looking to make Mastro the new corporation counsel, an announcement that was met by backlash from a number of City Council members, who vowed to vote down any nomination of him, arguing he’s not well-suited for the job due to his lengthy record of fighting for conservative legal causes.

Since then, the mayor’s team has privately lobbied Council members on the Mastro pick, but otherwise not taken any official steps, leading some members to speculate as to whether he’s reconsidering.

Ingrid Lewis-Martin, the mayor’s chief adviser, told reporters Tuesday the holdup is “not about fear,” but about accommodating a recent request from Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ office.

Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to Mayor, is pictured during a press conference at City Hall Blue Room on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News)
Ingrid Lewis-Martin, chief adviser to the mayor, is pictured during a press conference at City Hall Blue Room on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News)

“Jeremy and I had a conversation, and he asked us clearly if we could just hold up so that the Council can finish doing a number of things that they needed to do relative to the budget,” Lewis-Martin said, referring to Jeremy John, the speaker’s chief of staff.

“I know that the papers print that we’re at war with the Council about everything; we are not at war with the Council about this, so we have a partnership. … Out of respect for the fact that they need time, we’re giving them time, and we’ll move forward when it’s appropriate.”

The mayor’s team and the Council must cut a deal on the next city budget by June 30, and the two sides have for months engaged in intense sparring over spending cuts the mayor’s seeking at various city agencies.

Mayor Eric Adams is pictured during a press conference at City Hall Blue Room on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News)
Mayor Eric Adams is pictured during a press conference at City Hall Blue Room on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News)

Council spokesman Mandela Jones confirmed John told Lewis-Martin privately in April that the Council wouldn’t be able to hold any formal hearings on a Mastro nomination until late May, as the chamber has been busy holding executive budget hearings most of this month.

The Council’s last executive budget hearing was May 22. Lewis-Martin declined to offer a timeline Tuesday for when the mayor could officially unveil the Mastro nomination now that the executive budget hearings are done, saying only that he’ll “move forward when it’s appropriate.”

While the Mastro appointment has remained up in the air, the mayor’s team has worked behind the scenes to set up private meetings between Mastro and Council members. Some of that outreach has not gone over well, as some members, including Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, have rejected requests for sitdowns with Mastro, as first reported by the Daily News earlier this month.

Lewis-Martin has continued to broker such meetings since then, a source directly familiar with the matter said late Tuesday.

Speaker Adams has not met with Mastro, another source confirmed. The speaker told reporters earlier this month she’d be open to meeting with him, though.



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