Mayor Eric Adams loves to tout how he’s "getting stuff done." But how can he "get stuff done" with a rapidly shrinking City workforce? A new report from New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli paints a dire picture, estimating that there are possibly more than 20,000 vacant positions throughout City agencies, a number that is "among the highest rates in at least a decade."
As DiNapoli notes, and Hell Gate has detailed in our "Working for the City" series, "The elevated vacancy rate is driven mostly by a temporary reduction in hiring in FY 2021, under the City's hiring and attrition management initiative, and a sharp rise in attrition since then."
Some agencies have been hit harder than others. The comptroller's office found that "five major agencies have estimated vacancy rates of at least 14.7 percent, more than twice the citywide average, including as much as 18.3 percent at the Department of Social Services." (In case you’re curious why vacancies are so high at DSS, read our interview with someone who recently left the department.)
Here’s another depressing chart:
If you're trying to hollow out a city's administrative abilities, causing concurrent crises in housing affordability, mental health services, sanitation, and education—while at the same time largely preserving the policing apparatus—it looks a lot like this.
And here are some depressing links:
—Lawyers for people held at Rikers Island will be asking a federal judge to appoint a receiver to take over the jail complex. One thing a receiver could do, via the New York Times: "Unlike the monitor, who has little direct authority over the jail complex, a receiver would be granted authority to bypass institutional obstacles, including a union contract that allows correction officers unlimited sick leave and a state law that prevents the city from filling certain posts with employees who are not union members."
—In some good news for once, Mayor Adams announced a new "Housing First" pilot program for 80 homeless adults, though it's a bit odd that he described it as a "radical" idea, given that cities like Houston have implemented similar programs and at a much bigger scale than us! And the Safety Net Project's Kathleen Cash told City Limits's David Brand that the Adams administration should be doing much, much more: "[T]here are some 2,600 vacant supportive housing units, more than when this administration began, and there are serious actions the city can take—that it has power over—to fill those units. They've simply refused to do so."