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Two top City Hall officials head for the exit

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Two high-ranking City Hall officials have planned to leave the administration of Mayor Eric Adams this summer, following several top departures at the end of last year.

Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire and Communications Director Maxwell Young will head out sometime over the summer, according to three people with knowledge of the departures who were granted anonymity to speak freely about a private matter.

Neither has settled on their next job and their replacements have not yet been chosen, the people said.

In some ways McGuire and Young — with their prestigious upbringings and degrees from top universities — were unnatural fits for a mayor who prides himself on his blue-collar roots and personal academic struggles. But each forged a close relationship with Adams and are expected to be involved in his re-election bid in 2025, the people said.

McGuire was a partner at white-shoe law firm WilmerHale, following a decade as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, where he led the public corruption and terrorism and international narcotics units. He joined the Adams transition team in 2021, working alongside former Chief of Staff Frank Carone to design the administration.

In City Hall, he expanded the portfolio of the chief counsel’s job by taking over agencies previously under the purview of deputy mayors — such as the Office of Labor Relations, which negotiates contracts with municipal employees. He acted as the administration’s point person last year on a criminal justice summit, which was designed to shift the city’s debate away from bail reform after the state Legislature declined to implement all the changes Adams had advocated for last year. McGuire has also been mired in the complicated issue of providing beds and services for tens of thousands of Latin American asylum seekers who have flocked to New York over the past year.

Young worked as communications director for now-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and led public affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety — a movement to curb illegal gun use, funded by billionaire former Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

In City Hall, he expanded the communications team to 45 people and oversaw major policy rollouts and the annual State of the City speeches.

In Adams, he worked with a politician who is an effective public speaker, but one who disdains much of his media coverage. As a result, Young had to navigate a sometimes-tense relationship between the mayor and the reporters who cover him. Young developed a positive reputation with the press, even as he spearheaded efforts to work around traditional media outlets with a newsletter and podcast delivered directly with New Yorkers.

“There’s no mayor, no president, no governor that doesn’t get annoyed or rail at the media…and Eric Adams is exactly the same,” veteran public relations consultant Ken Sunshine, who worked as chief of staff to David Dinkins, said in praising Young’s job performance. “I’ll say it my way — he’s not a jerk like some people who do that [job.]”

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