Cy Opperman with Shelton Haynes

One more six-figure RIOC job opening, and this one may hurt


Another six-figure RIOC job opening posted last week. And this one may be painful because we might lose one of Roosevelt Island’s few true allies inside the agency.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily News

This six-figure RIOC job jumps out at you…

…because of its message: popular transportation director Cy Opperman is leaving the state agency.

The job: Director of Transportation for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

Opperman held that position for the last decade. Impressively and with not a lot of fuss, he kept Red Buses running their Main Street routes, even during the pandemic. For many, they were and anchor, a sign that normal would return.

Cy Opperman, standing left, with then VP Shelton Haynes, listened as seniors talked at the CBN/RI Senior Center, in January, 2020.

Remarkably, he made it all look simple. Overseeing not just buses but a support team that maintains the fleet, making on the fly adjustments when subways and elevators failed — Opperman is the guy who shuffles regular routes into Manhattan shuttles, making sure vulnerable community members are not stranded.

Hiring and keeping drivers challenged him, as we learned at board meetings. Imagine steadying a team making 2-mile loops all day in all kinds of weather. And handling — gently as he always did — resident demands: about strollers blocking aisles, crowding and passengers ignoring senior and disabled seating rules.

This six-figure RIOC job earned its keep with Cy Opperman.

But he’s still here. Maybe he’ll stay.

Long hours have always worn heavily on Opperman and will on any replacement. He never shirked it, but the pandemic changed things.

That is, while few RIOC staff, apart from business and accounting, show up for work, these days, that’s meant less support for those who do. Too often, he’s alone at 680 Main Street, the new office suite RIOC built as a hideaway under Motorgate.

Maybe that will change if president/CEO Shelton Haynes awakes to the reality that Cy Opperman will be damn difficult to replace.

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