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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks Get Their Girlfriends Onto the City Payroll

Sheena Wright with her man, Chancellor David Banks

 and then there's Tracy Collins with her man:

Wow. I think every parent and schools watcher like me is shocked with the story posted below.

We all remember getting a little befuzzled (my word) about former Mayor Bill de Blasio giving his wife more than $1 Billion to spend on Thrive NYC?

Where did all that money go? Who got the money? I don't know. Do you? Does anyone?

This is the trouble with NYC government. Too much money, too little accountability, too few whistleblowers.

Did anyone check with the Conflict of Interest Board?

Betsy Combier, Editor
NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks, Eric Adams put each other’s girlfriends in top posts

Schools Chancellor David Banks quietly promoted Mayor Adams’ girlfriend to a top job at the Department of Education, just months after Adams hired Banks’ girlfriend as a deputy mayor, The Post has learned.

Banks named Tracey Collins — Adams’ longtime partner and NYC’s unofficial First Lady — the DOE’s “senior advisor to the deputy chancellor of school leadership,” Desmond Blackburn. She started the new job in July, and got a giant, 23% raise to $221,597 a year, records show.

Hizzoner named Banks’ girlfriend, Sheena Wright, and four other women deputy mayors last Dec. 21. Deputy mayors made $251,982 in FY 21.

Both women’s advancement underscores the tight inner circle of the Adams administration.

Wright, 52, previously CEO of United Way of NYC, helped lead Adams’ transition team. Banks and Wright live together in Harlem. Banks and Adams took office on Jan. 1.

David Bloomfield, a Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center education professor, said, “It’s not only a bad look, smacking of favoritism and cronyism. It displays a degree of insularity and groupthink that’s adverse to organizational effectiveness.”

DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer said Collins, “a veteran educator with 30 years of experience,” replaced another senior advisor, Mariano Guzman, who retired.

Styer said Collins “went through a rigorous process that did not include City Hall’s oversight.

“She was by far the most qualified of all applicants for the position, which is why she was the only finalist presented to the chancellor,” Styer added. He could not say how many applied for the publicly posted position.

City Hall spokesman Fabien Levy said, “Mayor Adams was not involved in the hiring for this position and has a strict firewall when it comes to any matters involving her employment.”

Levy said the mayor also had the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board, COIB, sign off on Adams and Collins working for the city simultaneously, since Adams is technically her boss.

“Mayor Adams has tasked his entire cabinet to pick the brightest and most adequate individuals to serve this city and he is proud of the team at the DOE and the work they are doing,” Levy said.

Collins, 59, now sits in a powerful spot. Her boss Blackburn, in a role created by Banks, oversees the school system’s 45 superintendents. He reports directly to the chancellor.

Collins has served as an obscure DOE educrat since 2008, lastly as “senior youth development director.” Previously, she worked as a principal and a teacher.

“She gets up at dawn to run the largest school system in the United States,” working 12 hours a day, Adams wrote in his 2020 diet book, “Healthy at Last: A Plant-based Approach to Preventing and Reversing Diabetes.”

“She never gets a break.”

Collins also wrote a 2007 inspirational book about acts of kindness, “Sweet Promptings.” Adams, then a state senator representing Brooklyn, wrote the introduction.

Collins kept a low profile during Adams’ mayoral campaign, but appeared with the mayor in May at the Met Gala, dazzling in a white Oscar de la Renta gown adorned with sequined leaf details at the shoulders.