Eric Adams Hasn’t Won Yet, but He’s Already Planning an Early Transition 1

Mr. Adams, who leads the Democratic mayoral primary, said a rise in gun violence and the ongoing pandemic should speed up the transition to before the November general election.

Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and the leading vote-getter in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, said on Friday that the city could not afford to wait until after the general election in November for the next administration to get started. Instead, he added, Mayor Bill de Blasio should begin the transition as soon as the winner in the Democratic primary is announced in mid-July.

Mr. Adams, 60, who holds a nine-point lead over Maya Wiley, Mr. de Blasio’s former counsel, also announced that he would be traveling around the city to discuss his vision on pressing issues such as tackling a rise in gun violence, even as the city continues to tabulate votes in its first ranked-choice election.

As proof of his commitment, Mr. Adams pointed to his new footwear.

“That’s why I traded my shoes for my sneakers,” he said, looking down at the white sneakers he wore with his dress pants and white dress shirt.

The usual process calls for the next mayor to be determined by voters in November and then take office on Jan. 1. This year’s primary was held about three months earlier than in past elections, extending the period between the declaration of a primary winner and the actual inauguration.

But because there are many more Democrats than Republicans in the city, the winner of the Democratic primary is likely to win the general election on Nov. 2. Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, has already been declared the winner of the Republican primary. Mr. Adams suggested that Mr. de Blasio meet with both nominees, an idea that Mr. Sliwa rejected.

“He knows if I am invited to City Hall I’ll be out near the bathroom and it would be a sit down between two best friends,” Mr. Sliwa said.

Though Mr. Adams at times sounded like a mayor-elect, he insisted that he will respect the process — but also that he had a responsibility to move ahead on the city’s challenges.

“We know the votes must be counted. We know there’s a process. We’re going to follow that process,” said Mr. Adams, speaking before members of 32BJ S.E.I.U., a New York local of the Service Employees International Union. “But while that process is playing out we’re going to send a signal to New Yorkers.”

Mr. Adams said November was too long to wait to begin a transition given the economic and gun violence problems the city is facing. He has already called on Mr. de Blasio to adopt his plan to address gun violence.

“July 12 the results should be known. July 13 there should be an immediate sit down, build out a real transition team, build out a meeting with all the commissioners,” for both the Democratic and Republican nominees, Mr. Adams said. “We can’t say let’s start from scratch on Jan 1. That’s unfair to New Yorkers.”

Mr. Adams said he wanted to make sure that federal stimulus money as part of pandemic relief was used to address the rise in violent crime and that he planned to reach out to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and other City Council leaders. The deadline to approve the city’s $99 billion proposed budget is June 30.

“We need to use the money smartly to ensure that we can deal with the inequalities that I believe produce the violence, but there are some things that we should be doing immediately to go after the violence we see on our streets,” Mr. Adams said.

The city will receive at least $14 billion in pandemic-related aid over the next few years.

Mr. de Blasio was noncommittal in response to Mr. Adams’s proposal to accelerate the transition process.

There will be “informal conversations with winning campaigns following the primary and a formal transition process following the general election,” said Bill Neidhardt, the mayor’s press secretary. “In the meantime, the mayor is focused on our recovery.”

Ms. Wiley and Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner, who is in third place after the first ballot, took issue with Mr. Adams stance.

A spokesman for Ms. Wiley said it was “premature and disrespectful to discuss transitions when we have not yet come close to counting all the votes yet.”

Annika Reno, a spokeswoman for Ms. Garcia, said the “Democratic Primary for mayor is not over,” noting that there were still first-place absentee votes and ranked-choice votes to be tabulated.

“All candidates should respect the Democratic process and wait until all of the votes are counted before getting ahead of themselves on transition,” Ms. Reno added.

Mr. Adams has already begun to move ahead in crafting the outline of his administration, consulting with people like David C. Banks, the president and chief executive of the Eagle Academy Foundation, a network of prep schools; Sheena Wright, president and chief executive of United Way of New York City; and Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, an influential business group.

“It’s really smart to lay out a vision for moving the city forward because we are in the midst of a crisis of gun violence and the economic crisis is affecting the city,” said Juanita Scarlett, a democratic strategist who helped Mr. Adams create his 100 point plan for the city. “It shows he’s listening to everyday New Yorkers.”