Mayor-elect Eric Adams announced a slew of appointments leading up to his official inauguration, including communications director and the head of a brand-new Office of Ethnic and Community Media.
His communications director is Maxwell Young, formerly the communications director for Senator Chuck Schumer. He currently works as Chief Public Affairs Officer at Everytown for Gun Safety.
José Bayona will serve as the first ever executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Ethnic and Community Media. Established in city law in June 2021 by the City Council, the office will build relationships through partnerships and campaigns with media outlets that serve immigrant communities and cultures that have English as a second language.
“The new Mayor’s Office of Ethnic and Community Media, the first one of its kind in our country, is a historic recognition of the hard work of hundreds of ethnic and community media outlets that are the voice of millions of immigrants, working-class and every day New Yorkers living in our communities throughout this city,” said Bayona, who is Adams’ current senior adviser.
“I deeply thank Mayor-elect Eric Adams for the opportunity to lead this newly-created Office in his administration and proudly serve the most diverse city in the world.”
Bayona is also a former spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio, making a name for himself in the roles of deputy press secretary and director of Community and Ethnic Media.
In a release Dec. 23, Adams began his announcement with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which will be led by Jacques Jiha, Ph.D. He’ll continue to oversee New York City’s fiscal policy and develop its budgets. Jiha will also have to lead the city through the financial crisis caused by the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jiha has a long history in finance, as he was formerly commissioner of the Department of Finance, and before that, chief operating officer and Chief Financial Officer of Earl G. Graves, Ltd.
Over in the Department of Finance (DOF), Preston Niblack will be in charge of collecting tax revenue, assessing property values and ensuring the City’s overall fiscal health. Niblack is currently the deputy comptroller for budget, where he also analyzes and reports on the city budget. Before that, Niblack was serving the City Council as director of the Finance Division.
To lead the social services programs, Gary Jenkins will serve as commissioner of the Human Resources Administration (HRA). He will move from administrator of HRA and former first deputy commissioner of that office, where he has served for more than 30 years.
“I look forward to working collaboratively with partners across government to implement the Mayor-elect’s vision — strengthening the social safety net, streamlining service delivery, and maximizing our relationships with State and Federal partners to get the funding New Yorkers need. Together, we will build on the progress we have made to tackle poverty and inequality, prevent homelessness, and ensure New Yorkers know they can depend on their City if hardship hits,” Jenkins said.
Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services is Dawn Pinnock, who has served in the role since November. She was also key to facilitating remote work policy and the city’s return to work after the pandemic’s first surge.
Lastly, Sherif Soliman will oversee Adams’ policy in the Office of Policy and Planning. He has held several positions in City Hall, particularly as finance commissioner and chief of staff to the deputy mayor for operations.
“Our administration is assembling a team of seasoned public servants who are battle-tested and ready to get to work on behalf of the people of this city. Throughout the transition, we have sought out candidates who don’t just have the right credentials, but also possess the emotional intelligence necessary to understand and empathize with the plight of everyday New Yorkers. These appointments announced today will ensure we are ready to meet the challenges this city faces, and I thank all the appointees for answering the call to service,” said Mayor-elect Adams.