The coming departure of one of Mayor Adams’ top advisors has set off a search for a replacement — and so far, top officials in the administration are discussing four candidates for the job, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
The news earlier this week that Frank Carone, Adams’ chief of staff, will depart by year’s end has kept City Hall abuzz for most of the week, and the names that have emerged from that din as possible replacements are Sheena Wright, deputy mayor for strategic initiatives; James Oddo, who serves as chief of staff to Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi; Tiffany Raspberry, senior advisor for external affairs; and Camille Joseph Varlack, a partner at the law firm Bradford Edwards & Varlack.
That list is likely to expand, according to one source, who said the administration will seek more candidates from outside City Hall.
“I’ve heard Camille’s name the most,” said a second source. “But I’ve definitely heard these others in the conversation.”
Varlack, who Politico first reported as a possible successor on Wednesday, served on former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York State COVID-19 Task Force in 2020 and in the state’s executive chamber as deputy director of operations.
Wright’s name has come up the least, according to the second source, who described the overall situation as “fluid” and subject to change.
The first source noted that the rationale for announcing Carone’s departure, which was first reported by the NY Times, was to allow for a smooth transition for his replacement. That source described Raspberry as a “strong” presence, but “soft spoken.”
A third source suggested Raspberry is a long-shot and is behind rumors to put herself in the mix for the job. That source confirmed that Varlack, Wright and Oddo are all in the discussion as possible successors, but said the Raspberry is not considered a serious contender at this point in the process.
Wright is also gunning to become the first deputy mayor, a post currently held by Lorraine Grillo, according to two other sources. As the Daily News reported earlier this week, Grillo is likely to leave the administration in the coming months, but sources are skeptical that Wright is the best pick to fill her shoes due to her lack of government experience.
Before joining the administration, Wright served as president and CEO of the United Way of New York City.