The beleaguered head of the city’s social services department claims his ex-employee-turned-whistleblower was fired because of unprofessional conduct with co-workers – not because she complained about an alleged cover-up according to which the agency allegedly illegally allowed migrant families to sleep on the floor.
Mayor Eric Adams’ DSS Commissioner Gary Jenkins said his former press secretary, Julia Savel, had ‘documented instances’ where she was ‘unprofessional with her peers, with her subordinates and with senior management. “, during a television interview broadcast Thursday evening on CBS2.
Neither City Hall nor the DSS returned an immediate request for comment to The Post when asked to elaborate on Jenkins’ claims, which were his first public comments on the matter.
Savel was fired Aug. 5 after complaining internally about Jenkins’ alleged failure to notify City Hall that her agency violated the Big Apple’s longstanding “right to shelter” law, which requires the city to provide temporary housing to people before 4 a.m. if they apply before 10 p.m.
Newly arrived migrants from the southern border slept overnight at the city’s Bronx-based PATH reception center on July 18.
Jenkins eventually admitted the city broke the standard, but Savel claimed the commissioner slowed down by notifying City Hall.
The city’s watchdog agency – the Investigations Department – opened an investigation into the scandal last week.
Savel told the Post in a statement that she stands by her previous assertions, adding that her job performance was never an issue when she was a city employee.
“When I arrived at the PATH drop-in center with Gary Jenkins and his chief of staff Karen St. Hilarie on the night of July 20, when multiple housing rights violations were made public, I was aware of all information shared by my colleagues in senior management and my input was requested by both Gary and City Hall,” Savel said.
“The minute I refused to release a false statement to the press that the city was in compliance with the legal mandate – as stated by Gary – was the moment I was kicked out and the active cover-up began. My performance n was never questioned, I was never alerted to any documented instances of misconduct, and I worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers most vulnerable. city, I held truth, transparency, and decency above all else until the day I was unjustly fired. I can’t say the same for Gary Jenkins.
Savel spent about three hours on Monday with five DOI investigators, a source familiar with said.
She then turned over her personal cell phone to DOI investigators on Wednesday after consenting to their request for a “full forensic image,” according to an electronic copy obtained by The Post.
The DOI requested copies of Savel’s text messages and call log with nearly a dozen city hall and DSS employees, via email.
Officials include Jenkins, his chief of staff Karen St Hilaire, deputy mayor of town hall Anne Williams-Isom, director of town hall communications Max Young, first press secretary Fabien Levy, deputy press secretary Kate Smart and others.
The DOI declined to comment when contacted by The Post.