Following news that Mayor Eric Adams’ Chief of Staff Frank Carone is leaving his team at the end of the year, he wouldn’t confirm or deny reporting that First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo is also planning to exit the administration within the next 12 months.
Adams said he wouldn’t go into the details of private conservations when asked by reporters about Grillo’s possible departure at an unrelated press conference Tuesday morning – following a story first broke by the New York Daily News Monday.
“I stated that when we make the appointments, we will announce them and that’s the same thing with those who decide to go on with their lives,” Adams told reporters. “Loraine has spent so many years in government. She has been an amazing anchor. I was proud to have her join the team with her experience. And so, whenever she decides to do something with her life, that’s up to her. And when that comes about we’ll make an announcement on when she’s getting ready to depart if she wants to.”
Carone told The New York Times, who first reported that he’d be leaving the Adams administration by year’s end Monday, he always saw himself serving in city government for just one year. He also informed the Paper of Record that he’s planning to chair Adams’ 2025 reelection campaign after moving on from City Hall.
“I wanted to recruit the team, take a deep dive into agencies and build a culture for that team of no drama and getting things done,” Carone told the Gray Lady.
Speaking to reporters as he left City Hall Monday evening, Adams echoed the idea that Carone had planned to serve in his cabinet for no more than a year from the outset.
“We had an agreement,” Adams said. “He was going to set the foundation for me. He did that and I thanked him for his year of commitment”
During his time leading Adams’ office, Carone has been known to trot the country and the globe in search of innovative fixes to some of the Big Apple’s long standing issues. For instance, he recently stayed on a Norwegian cruise ship in Normandy, France as part of the administration’s research into whether the vessels could serve as temporary housing for the over 10,000 migrants who’ve overwhelmed city shelters in recent months.
Before coming on as his chief of staff, Carone was both a close personal friend and political ally to Adams for many years. He also played a key role in getting Adams elected in the crowded 2021 mayoral contest, helping him with fundraising and shoring up support among vital constituencies.
Carone was also a partner at the Downtown Brooklyn law firm Abrams Fensterman – the firm representing the Brooklyn Democratic Party – and operated as one of the party’s power brokers for many years.
Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said he thinks it makes perfect sense that Carone would choose to exit City Hall after a year.
“He helped his friend get elected, he did the political work before he got there,” Sheinkopf told PoliticsNY. “He helped run the administration through the first year. He helped the mayor maintain great relationships that the mayor needed badly, both in Albany and Washington and other places. And he used his power well, and now it comes to a conclusion.”
Sheinkopf said Carone leaving will be a big loss for the administration because of his strong ability to build and maintain relationships as well as his tight-lipped approach.
“He’s an invaluable asset just on relationships,” Sheinkopf said. “Especially in times of crisis, having people to relate to other levels of government is very important because it reduces the possibility of attack and increases the probability of cooperation. Frank has those kinds of relationships and people trust him. He also is not a blabber, he doesn’t run around discussing things that he shouldn’t be discussing, which is important.”
While Sheinkopf didn’t hazard a guess at who the mayor may name as Carone’s successor, he said it will likely be someone from Adams’ inner circle.
“It’ll be somebody likely who was close to him over the years, who he trusts,” he said. “This mayor does not put people in power who he doesn’t entirely trust and he doesn’t know.”