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As An Apparent Chaos at RIOC Spills, Residents Now Ask Serious Questions

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Although it may be more about amateurish communications, apparent chaos at RIOC spilled over since Friday. And now, concerned residents are asking worrisome questions.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily News

Chaos at RIOC?

“What else can RIOC do wrong?” asked a longtime Roosevelt Islander. This was after hearing about a drowning death in Sportspark. While there’s no evidence that anyone did anything wrong, RIOC’s handling of the news was a mess.

Another resident was more elaborate…

Let’s see — Since Friday — 

1.  Mysterious move of Covid test center?

2.  Late & Poorly disseminated info about TV Shoot Inconveniencing many?

3.  Individual drowns at Sportspark & RIOC tries to hide it?  

4.  Anyone’s guess for what’s next…?

Roosevelt Island Pioneer

What’s next…?

We have an answer…

RIOC board does a backflip

May 12th, 2021, Advisory: Please be advised that the RIOC Board of Directors meeting, scheduled for Thursday, May 20th of 2021, has been cancelled. 

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The second time a board meeting was cancelled — not postponed — this year, signalled that the state’s descent into the bunker escalated. For years, until current president/CEO Shelton Haynes took over, public board meetings were our most consistent source of information about the agency the community is forced to pay for.

May 17th, 2021, Advisory: Please take notice that an emergency meeting of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 at 5:30 P.M., via videoconference.

Almost all “advisories” land in mailboxes after hours these days, but no explanation was given for the flip.

And don’t mistake it for a return to transparency. The single item on the agenda is a retreat into “executive session” where they’ll discuss “pending litigation.”

Because RIOC’s not saying any more about this secret session, the topic is unknown. However, RIOC’s board and state officials, all of whom are defendants, suffered a major courtroom setback. Last week, the court ordered them to hand over information about Susan Rosenthal’s dismissal that they fought to hide.

But it’s a guess.

What else suggests chaos at RIOC?

How about the “mysterious move of the COVID test center…?”

More than three hours before publicly acknowledging an incident at Sportspark that occurred the day before, RIOC’s alleged Communications Team released this:

“Please be advised that the COVID-19 Testing Site will be closed from Wednesday, May 19th through Saturday, May 22nd. This temporary closure comes ahead of an anticipated relocation of the site to RIVAA Gallery (527 Main Street).”

A head scratcher?

More like a head-spinner with more questions raised than answered.

Already subject of suspicions surrounding its funding and practices, the testing center’s abrupt closing startled. Why? RIOC again denies residents’ right to know.

But the real corker is a move in RIVAA Gallery? RIVAA currently has a major exhibit in place, Vernissage 20, and it’s scheduled until May 30th. A solo show featuring Georgette Sinclair is already on tap, following.

A calm opening at RIVAA’s Vernissage 20, but now, without explanation, RIOC threatens future chaos.

So, what happens to RIVAA? As usual, RIOC’s not saying, and a RIVAA executive did not respond to an email seeking information.

Conclusion

Again, what appears as chaos at RIOC may be nothing more than amateurish fumbling by a Communications Team lead by an athletics instructor. But taken in total, for a frustrated community, it is what it is.

Residents hope the chaos will sort itself out, but no one’s counting on RIOC’s help in doing so.

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