NYC has the largest urban workforce of all time. Mayor Eric Adams wants to downsize it.

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  NYC has the largest urban workforce of all time.  Mayor Eric Adams wants to downsize it.


During a public presentation on New York City’s financial outlook on Thursday, Jonathan Rosenberg, a director of budget auditing at the IBO, said it’s generally a good idea to have agencies audit where they can cut costs.

“Things often go on unchecked for years,” said Rosenberg.

At the same time, he warned, “It’s not always the right way to use one tool for all agencies and not allow for nuanced changes.”

After the presentation, he elaborated by saying that instead of offering real efficiencies, agencies could instead be incentivized to “offer the low-hanging fruit.”

Not every authority has to make cuts. The Department of Correction, the city’s metropolitan hospital network known as Health + Hospitals, the Department of Health and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner have been exempted due to the challenges they continue to face amid the pandemic.

And as the city sees an ongoing spate of violent crime, Adams left open the possibility that the NYPD, which was not named as one of the exempted agencies, could also face cuts.

All other agencies have been instructed to make savings proposals for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 and submit them by January 21.

According to the specifications of the city’s budget office, the cuts must not affect any direct services or be based on the imposition of new fees or fines.

Nor can they be based on layoffs, a message seemingly at odds with what the mayor said.

While Adams suggested Wednesday the NYPD could be exempt from cuts, the former police captain also lamented that too many officers are being placed in roles not critical to public safety and a waste of resources. Citing the presence of NYPD officers at parades, he said, “Why don’t you patrol somewhere?”

Andrew Rein, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a bipartisan watchdog group, praised Adams’ attempt to root out inefficiencies in the city government.

He said the mayor can reduce staff numbers without resorting to layoffs by choosing not to fill vacancies and through natural attrition of the workforce.

Rein estimates that about 20,000 city workers quit their jobs every year.

“Leadership changes are very healthy,” he added. “It’s good to check your structure regularly.”



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