Following the announcement that Mayor Eric Adams’ chief of staff, Frank Carone, will be leaving his team at the end of the year, he has neither confirmed nor denied that First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo is also planning to leave administration within the next 12 months.
Adams said he wouldn’t go into details about the private retainers when asked by reporters about Grillo’s possible departure at an unrelated press conference on Tuesday morning – following a story first published by the New York Daily News Monday.
“I said when we make the appointments we will announce them and it’s the same with those who decide to move on with their lives,” Adams told reporters. “Lorraine spent so many years in government. She has been an incredible anchor. I was proud to see her join the team with her experience. And so, whenever she decides to do something with her life, it’s up to her. And when that happens, we’ll make an announcement about when she’s getting ready to leave if she wants to.
Carone told the New York Times, who first announced he would leave the Adams administration by the end of the year On Monday, he still saw himself serving in the city government for just one year. He also told the Paper of Record that he plans to chair Adams’ 2025 re-election campaign after stepping down from City Hall.
“I wanted to recruit the team, dive deep into the agencies and create a culture for this team without drama and get things done,” Carone told the Gray Lady.
Speaking to reporters as he left City Hall on Monday night, Adams echoed the idea that Carone had planned to serve in his cabinet for no more than a year from the start.
“We had a deal,” Adams said. “He was going to lay the groundwork for me. He did and I thanked him for his year of commitment.
While running Adams’ office, Carone was known for traveling the country and the world in search of innovative solutions to some of the Big Apple’s longstanding problems. For instance, he recently stayed on a Norwegian cruise ship in Normandy, France as part of the administration’s research into whether the ships could serve as temporary housing for the more than 10,000 migrants who have overwhelmed the city’s shelters in recent months.
Prior to becoming his chief of staff, Carone was both a close personal friend and a political ally of Adams for many years. He also has played a key role in electing Adams in the 2021 mayoral race.helping him raise funds and build support among vital constituencies.
Carone was also a partner in downtown Brooklyn law firm Abrams Fensterman – the firm representing the Brooklyn Democratic Party – and was one of the party’s power brokers for many years.
Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said he thought it made perfect sense that Carone would choose to leave City Hall after a year.
“He helped his friend get elected, he did the political work before he got there,” Sheinkopf told PoliticsNY. “He helped run the administration throughout the first year. He helped the mayor maintain great relationships that the mayor badly needed, both in Albany and in Washington and elsewhere. And he used his power well, and now he’s coming to a conclusion.
Sheinkopf said Carone’s departure would be a great loss for the administration because of his strong ability to build and maintain relationships as well as his low-key approach.
“He’s an invaluable asset just about relationships,” Sheinkopf said. “Especially in times of crisis, having people in touch with other levels of government is very important, as it reduces the possibility of attack and increases the likelihood of cooperation. Frank has those kinds of connections and people trust him. He’s also not a talker, he doesn’t run around to discuss things he shouldn’t be discussing, which is important.
Although Sheinkopf did not attempt to guess who the mayor might appoint as Carone’s successor, he said it would likely be someone from Adams’ inner circle.
“It will probably be someone who was close to him over the years, who he trusts,” he said. “This mayor does not put people in power whom he does not fully trust and whom he does not know.”