City lawyer fired after asking NYC mayor to ‘unmask toddlers’ says she’s hiring counsel

Children are seen walking, on the first day of lifting the indoor mask mandate for DOE schools between K through 12, in Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S., March 7, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • City attorney Daniela Jampel asked Mayor Eric Adams at a press conference when he would “unmask our toddlers”
  • NYC legal department said it had already decided to fire Jampel

(Reuters) – An attorney who was fired from New York City’s Law Department Monday after confronting the city’s mayor about its mask mandate for small children said Tuesday that she was retaining legal counsel.

A spokesperson for the Law Department said it had made the decision to fire assistant corporation counsel Daniela Jampel before Monday’s exchange, in which Jampel asked Mayor Eric Adams at a press conference when he would “unmask our toddlers.”

New York City lifted its COVID-19 mask mandate for older school children last month but still requires masks for children ages 2-4 in public and private school settings. The mayor said Friday that the mandate would remain in place because cases had begun to rise.

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Reached by Reuters Tuesday, Jampel said she expects to have hired a lawyer within a day and “will make a broad statement about what has happened to me.” She declined to say whether she would pursue a lawsuit or take other action against the city.

The law department, which handles legal matters for all city agencies, said it fired Jampel Monday after she made “troubling claims about her work.” In a since-deleted tweet on Friday, Jampel criticized Adams’ mask mandate and said that as a city attorney she defended “cops who lie in court, teachers who molest children, prison guards who beat inmates.”

The department also said Jampel on Monday had shown a “disturbing lack of judgment and integrity,” asserting she had lied to City Hall staff and impersonated a journalist.

Jampel said she did not know why she was fired. She worked at the Law Department for six years on complex personal injury actions against the city and police misconduct matters, according to her LinkedIn profile.

“You will have to ask the Law Department why they fired me, they did not feel the need to tell me their reasoning and instead felt it more appropriate to disparage me in the press,” she said in an email.

Jampel is a co-founder of the advocacy group #KeepNYCSchoolsOpen, which opposed continuing closures of the city’s public schools after the early months of the pandemic.

A 2008 graduate of Fordham University School of Law who briefly practiced at a large corporate law firm, she has been an outspoken critic of the city’s ongoing mask requirement for young children and claims the mayor reneged on promises to lift the mandate.

Adams’ office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the city’s mask policy or Jampel’s firing.

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