On Thursday, Mayor Adams defended beleaguered Social Services Commissioner Gary Jenkins, who had taken a nearly two-week vacation amid a city homeless shelter crisis.
Adams, speaking at an unrelated press appearance in Queens, said Jenkins had every right to travel to Mexico last week, as first reported by the Daily News, and dismissed public anxiety about his trip as exaggerated.
“He committed the cardinal sin: he went on vacation with his family,” Adams said.
“That is just so unbelievable that in a time that all of us are dealing with the impact, the distress of our daily lives — I commend him for renewing himself and coming back and doing those 12 and 13-hour days that he’s been doing. I have the utmost confidence in Gary. “Adams added, “Gary’s going nowhere.
At first, Jenkins, who oversees the city’s shelter system as social services commissioner, came under fire when it was discovered that his agency had failed to find shelter beds for at least five Latin American families promptly in July, forcing them to sleep on the floor of a Bronx intake center.
Because the city is a “Right to Shelter” jurisdiction, the blunder violated the law — and Jenkins’ difficulties were exacerbated when his former top spokesman accused him of seeking to keep Adams and the public in the dark about the legal issues at first.
The ex-spokeswoman, Julia Savel, was fired within days of raising those concerns, and the Department of Investigation has since initiated an investigation against Jenkins for the alleged coverup.