In a sweeping speech Wednesday, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams vowed to take steps to help essential workers and other struggling New Yorkers.
She discussed plans for job creation and workforce development, especially for working-class residents.
“As a government, it’s time to deliver,” she said in her "State of the City" speech at the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Houses in the Soundview section of the Bronx.
What You Need To Know
- In her "State of the City" speech Wednesday, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams vowed to take steps to help essential workers and other struggling New Yorkers
- She discussed plans for job creation and workforce development, especially for working-class residents
- Her remarks come as the council is negotiating the budget with Mayor Eric Adams, which is due by the end of June
Her remarks come as the council is negotiating the budget with Mayor Eric Adams, which is due by the end of June. The lawmakers, arguing that the city’s reserves are more ample than the mayor is projecting, seek to increase funding for social services.
In budget hearings, they’ve made clear their priorities also include filling vacancies at city agencies. The council speaker did the same in her speech Wednesday.
“We cannot wait for the last domino to fall,” Speaker Adams said.
“The city must act now to fully fund and staff our city agencies,” she added, drawing applause.
The speaker said she would work with the mayor's office on hiring fairs and other means to fill the 23,000 budgeted vacancies. She and her colleagues on the council have said the lack of staffing has been a lack of services.
Speaker Adams, who represents southeast Queens and is the first Black woman to hold the post of speaker, pledged to invest in 3K education, libraries and CUNY programs, pave the way for deeply affordable housing and close Rikers Island jail facilities.
She additionally called for requiring “deeply affordable” options in new housing, beefing up monthly financial assistance programs, expanding year-round public access to pools and increasing support for overdose prevention centers.
“It would utilized unused open space on NYCHA land to develop new, higher-density buildings that residents are moved into directly from their existing units," she said.
Speaker Adams joined Errol Louis on “Inside City Hall” Wednesday night to discuss more on her speech.
When asked if there would be a political pushback on her housing plan, she said on the show she was unconcerned.
“I think that when we determine what the goal really is — and that is to make our residents have better conditions right now,” Speaker Adams said, adding that the conditions on NYCHA campuses are “basically deplorable.” “It’s feasible if we work together to do it.”
She wants to double the eligibility of the city’s Fair Fares program, allowing low income New Yorkers to get half prices for MTA. However, more than half of eligible residents aren’t utilizing the program.
And the speaker said the city has done a “terrible” job of messaging the program, which she says is an outstanding program to get residents using the subway at lower costs.
“So we gotta do our due diligence als. We notice that, that we did all of these great things and we came to an agreement as far as Fair Fares was concerned,” she said, adding the numbers aren’t there yet.
Although there is some pushback on closing Rikers Island and expanding facilities throughout the five boroughs, Speaker Adams said, “The close to Rikers is the law.”
According to the speaker, whose late mother was a corrections officer on Rikers Island, the plans to close the facility in 2027 and open the borough-based jails are in motion.
“When my mother was working there, she knew that Rikers had to be closed,” she said, adding that her mother said they should have closed it a long time ago.
A law requiring artificial intelligence within the hiring process is currently stalled. Speaker Adams said the council is still looking into it and working with legislation “to get it right.”
“Anything that comes through the council, we want to make sure that we get it right,” she said. “We don’t want to pass legislation that’s going to be problematic in the future.”