Mayor Adams’ Latest Abuse of Power in NYC

Just when you thought life in the Twisted Apple couldn’t get any stranger, bizarre, and downright uncomfortable for the millions of people who have to battle the insanity of living in NYC, Mayor Eric Adams is now requesting photos of every applicant that applies for a city job, in an effort, he says, to promote diversity and inclusion.

The mayor of New York City is requiring all agencies to provide him with headshots of all potential new hires for positions ranging from Department Press Secretary to Assistant Commissioner. With an unusually high number of job vacancies in NYC, many believe this is a push toward diversity more than anything else. At the same time, the mayor’s office contends that this will help the mayor better identify over 330,000 city employees.

“Everyone knew what it was. There was no question. It was the first thing everybody said: ‘We’re going to start counting complexions now,'” one former City Hall employee said.

Officials interviewed by Politico, who requested to remain anonymous, said that although they supported a more diverse workforce, they were concerned that the effort to move toward inclusive and diversity would lead to the mayor’s office making hiring decisions based on race and ethnicity rather than merit.

Requiring this is just adding an extra step in the hiring process in a city that is already severely understaffed, being required by a mayor whose motto is “get stuff done.”

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One official said they were told that Mayor Adams wanted agencies to hire people who “reflect the constituencies we serve.”

Lawyer Jeanne Christensen, a partner at Wigdor Law LLP, said in an interview, “If a company called me and said, ‘Hey listen, we really want to increase the diversity at our company, especially at senior levels, do you think it would help us if we used photos in order to increase it,’ I don’t see how that would be a problem if it actually helped. They’re entitled to take steps to try to fulfill that diversity goal, providing that in doing that, they’re not running afoul of the existing law.”

Christensen does warn that Job candidates should not be required to present headshots, though there is nothing legally barring officials from searching for potential new hires’ headshots online. “I would say you better be sure you have their permission, and they’re doing this voluntarily,” she said.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission addresses this on its website, stating, “Employers should not ask for a photograph of an applicant. If needed for identification purposes, a photograph may be obtained after an offer of employment is made and accepted.”

Mayor Adams insists that the new order to require headshots of all potential new hires is to recognize the faces of city workers. Many are not buying it, and I think this calls for a follow-up story in six months to see where the demographics are. I know many New Yorkers are struggling to get one of these much sought-after municipal jobs, but perhaps they are not the correct complexion.


Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.