(NEW YORK POST) Mayor Eric Adams is collecting headshots of potential city workers in a thinly-veiled effort to increase diversity, according to a new report.
Adams has requested city agencies to provide photographs of potential hires to City Hall as candidates go through the interview process for city jobs ranging from assistant commissioner to departmental press secretary, Politico reported Thursday.
Several unnamed city officials told the outlet that the request is clearly an effort to hire more diverse staffers. However, Adams maintains that it will merely help him recognize his employees in the sprawling city workforce.
“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 recently-departed City Hall employee told Politico.
The majority of the officials interviewed by the outlet — who requested anonymity to speak freely about the internal measure — said they supported a more diverse workforce but worried the practice is already causing the Adams administration to make hiring decisions with a greater emphasis on race and ethnicity than merit.
Compounding the issue, nearly every official Politico spoke to also said the headshot request created another snag in the drawn-out hiring process — straying away from the mayor’s signature motto of “get stuff done” at a time when city job vacancies are unusually high. About 8 percent of municipal jobs were vacant as of April, according to data from the Citizens Budget Commission.
Politico obtained emails sent by the mayor’s team to about a dozen high-ranking officials at other city agencies asking them to submit headshots of people they hope to employ for Adam’s own review.
An April 19 email contained an attached template of photos and job descriptions of current high-ranking agency employees.
“Clarifying also that the avatars in the attached should be actual photos as the Mayor likes to begin to recognize folks faces,” a mayoral staffer wrote in the email, according to the publication.
One official said they were verbally told that Adams wanted agencies to hire people who “reflect the constituencies we serve.”
Hiring managers aren’t expected to ask job candidates for headshots, but instead grab photos from social media sites like LinkedIn to appease the mayor’s request, two sources told Politico.
“The whole hiring process this City Hall set up is difficult enough, and the photo requirement just takes it from hard to bizarre and uncomfortable,” another high-ranking agency official said.
Adams’ administration said the photo requests — which also apply to existing top staffers — is a way for the mayor to learn and recognize the faces of who he employs.