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Adams Promotes Head of Deadly NYC Jails to Assistant Deputy Mayor for Failing Up

Louis Molina has a new job, and more links for your Wednesday.

8:56 AM EDT on November 1, 2023

Louis Molina addressing the Board of Correction. (Hell Gate)

The rumors that New York City Department of Correction head Louis Molina was on the way out were true: On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Adams announced that Molina would leave his post as jails commissioner later this month to become his assistant deputy mayor for public safety, working under his fellow former cop and deputy mayor for public safety Philip Banks. I guess in the Adams administration, skipping out on oversight hearings, engaging in cover-ups of the violence at Rikers, stymying efforts at oversight, and allowing Rikers to become even more of a hellish death trap to the point that a federal takeover of the City's jails seems inevitable, earns you a promotion.

It doesn't really sound like this new job, which City Hall noted does not come with a raise, was Molina's first choice. The New York Times reported that Molina has been conducting an unsuccessful job hunt in recent weeks: 

Mr. Molina had been seeking other senior law enforcement positions for more than a month, and had applied for at least one outside the administration, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Mr. Molina had also tried to submit his resignation in recent months, but the administration rejected his effort, two people said.

Why reject Molina's request to step down and instead allow him to fail up? One unnamed "longtime political operative" painted it as a move by Adams to keep him close as the mayor's reelection campaign kicks into gear. "It's cops protecting each other. You had to move him because for Adams, it's another thing he's going to have to explain to votes [sic] when he runs for re-election," they told the Daily News. "So what do you do? You put him some place where you can watch him."

The attorney Jonathan Abady, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the 2011 lawsuit that led to the appointment of the federal monitor for Rikers, described Molina's new role as "truly mystifying." 

"Rikers is in a state of absolute chaos and its conditions present a profound and unrelenting humanitarian crisis, and yet this administration is rewarding the steward who's been overseeing this correctional debacle. It’s nothing short of astounding," Abady told the Daily News.

"Lou has demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication as the commissioner of the Department of Correction, helping to reverse decades of mismanagement and neglect," Mayor Adams said in a statement. "Lou has brought this organization back from the brink of collapse."

"Lou" himself echoed Adams, writing in his own statement of "the tremendous success we have achieved at the Department of Correction to reduce violence and improve safety."

Since Molina took the reins at DOC in January 2022, 28 people have died while incarcerated in the City's jails.  

And some tremendously successful links that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication:

  • Via the CITY: "Every year, the City's Department of Investigation issues bold and critical recommendations intended to help City government function more effectively and efficiently, as part of its agency probes. But increasingly, and especially under Mayor Eric Adams, the department is being downsized, the scale and scope of its investigative insights is diminishing and some of its most urgent findings are being ignored by agencies."
  • "A Record 119,300 New York City Students Were Homeless Last Year"
  • Here's the one good thing about pickleball.  
  • And finally, we're all that dude who hopped the railing: 
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