Mayor Adams’ CTO is being searched in town by an NYPD security guard — prompting political and law enforcement observers to question why he needs one and why taxpayers are paying for it.
CTO Matt Fraser is under the protection of at least two NYPD detectives — Steve Gordon and Victor Robali, according to three sources familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. promise.
A source who confirmed Fraser details existed and spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation noted that there is no precedent for a protection unit for someone in his position.
“He’s the civilian head of technology for the city,” the source said. “He doesn’t enforce the law for the city.”
Few city officials other than the mayor have been given security details by the NYPD, the sources noted.
While a spokeswoman for Mayor Adams had no problem with the two detectives working under Fraser, she denied that they constituted police details.
“While CTO Fraser has a broad and unparalleled portfolio as head of OTI, he has no security details,” said Adams spokeswoman Kayla Mamelak. “The people who work for him serve in multiple roles, including providing CTO Fraser with important real-time insights and context on technology and public safety relations issues.”
Adams himself also denied Fraser had details, saying in an unrelated news conference that “there were no police around him all day trying to protect him.”
“No one went after my CTO, he didn’t have police details,” he said after hearing a sigh. “Matt is looking at how we can use this technology to solve public safety issues in this city. It’s very helpful to have knowledgeable police officers in this role.”
Still, two other sources confirmed the existence of the detail, which has drawn criticism from longtime political observers.
“It’s hard to justify that when you lose so many police officers every day,” said Hank Schenkopf, a longtime political adviser and former Port Authority police officer. “It doesn’t look good politically.”
John Kaehny, head of government watchdog Reinvent Albany, described the decision to provide Fraser with details as “poor management” after Adams called for police removals in his first months in office to increase NYPD presence. street.
“It would be better to have a retired detective do this,” Keney said of Fraser’s protection unit.
Before being named New York City Chief Technology Officer by Adams, Fraser served as Deputy Chief of the NYPD Information Technology Division and Project Manager for the New York City Department of Architecture.
The revelation that Adams has a security detail comes after The Daily News reported two weeks ago that Adams’ deputy mayor for public safety, Phil Banks, had details of his own. Adams also addressed the issue on Monday after a verbal blunder that initially referred to Banks as “chief.”
“I’m talking about the chief bank, the deputy mayor’s bank, they don’t have police details. We’re using police officers who have their knowledge to assist us with the whole plan because that’s how I run the city,” he said. “The team will work together.”
Adams had a vague answer when asked if anyone else in the government had police details.
“People use city employees where we need to use them,” he said. “That’s what they’re doing. My order to the city is that wherever you can use a city employee, you will use that city employee. That includes NYPD, FDNY, DSNY — everyone is on this team.”
Under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who criticized his use of his own NYPD executive protection division, the only other non-elected city official with full-time details was the NYPD. Commissioner and Commissioner of Correctional Services. Parliamentary speakers, public advocates and auditor-generals — all of whom are elected — have traditionally also had details.
Another source familiar with Fraser’s security team said Gordon was doing administrative work when he wasn’t driving Fraser back and forth.
“He’s not a police officer,” the source said of Frazier. “He’s a civilian.”
A third source, who described Fraser as a police “fanatic”, owns a new electric Ford Mustang with a “police package,” meaning it has police lights, more than the Mustangs usually sold at car dealerships Faster and stronger.
Gordon and Robalino were officially assigned to the NYPD’s Information Technology Division, the source noted.
“It seems a bit far-fetched that he needs a detail,” the source said. “On what basis does he have to deal with a late-night emergency? Doubtful.”
Robalino is a second-year detective with an annual income of approximately $151,880. Detective expert Gordon earned $126,469, records show.The two are still officially assigned to the NYPD Information Technology Division, the source said.
A fourth source, a former member of the city’s security detail, questioned why Frazier, who served as head of information technology and telecommunications under de Blasio under his predecessor Jessica Tisch, did not get the detail. Under Mayor Adams, DoITT merged with several other city technology offices to form the Office of Technology and Innovation, which Fraser now runs.
Anne Roest and Samir Saini, both DoITT commissioners before Tisch, also do not have police details.
Mamelak said Fraser’s role as chief technology officer “cannot be compared to previous leadership positions in technology operations across the city,” adding that the Daily News’ coverage of his safety at the NYPD was a ” successful work”.
When told of the town hall’s denial, a source who confirmed its existence to News said the Adams team’s response was split hair and a “bold lie”.
“It was shocking,” the source said.