A thirty year Roosevelt Islander slams RIOC CEO Shelton Haynes after a thickheaded community advisory hits where it hurts. “I won’t hold my breath,” the frustrated Roosevelt Islander wrote in a response of which we obtained a copy.
By David Stone
Mindless Advisory Provokes Roosevelt Into Slamming RIOC
Out of the blue, this morning at 10:15, RIOC email blasted this…
“Though the pandemic has caused a tremendous downturn in the market and made expansion for financial institutions distinctly challenging, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) has been looking at creative solutions to bring a bank back to Roosevelt Island. In doing so, we’re working closely with our local elected officials, the New York State Department of Financial Services, Cornell Tech, Hudson-Related, and other key stakeholders to realize this necessity.”
If you dismiss the lack of clarity and detail, it still reads weird with so much else unclear. Roosevelt Island’s been rattled by an unexplained drowning in the Sportspark Pool, for example. And the state agency also ignores requests for details about its Swift COVID Rapid Testing Center.
A mirror too distant…
But Haynes emailed this way back in August…
“Hudson Related and RIOC have reached out to Citi, TD, Dime and Chase Bank about potentially coming to Roosevelt Island. In addition, we have reached out to regional branches about coming to RI as well. John O’Reilly (RIOC CFO) has also spoken to Amalgamated as they are closed earlier than the original September date citing COVID-19 as the reason. I had my first call earlier today with David Hirschhorn to discuss this matter further and understand the long term commitment for the space the bank occupied. Please know that we are diligently working with our partners/stakeholders to get a bank here to the island as quickly as possible.”
That was 10 months ago. And there is no indication of any actual efforts by RIOC of doing anything but taking an unearned bow.
But nothing happened, and in its failure, RIOC preferred wishing it washed away over time.
Early in May, as we reported, RIOC’s alleged Communications Team summarily tossed out local resident Raye Schwartz’s appeal, deeming it of “medium” importance. At this time, that team exercises outsize authority over RIOC policy and its implementation.
When a thirty year Roosevelt Islander slams RIOC, it’s not without reason
But it goes without respect.
Perhaps a paragraph appended to Haynes’s August email clears up some of the confusion…
“As a staffing update, Terrence McCauley is no longer with RIOC and all external communication/media inquires should go to Erica Spencer-EL who is copied on this email exchange.”
In a move as stunning as it was suspicious, Haynes promoted Spencer-EL to communications director with a six-figure salary almost immediately after involvement in Susan Rosenthal’s racism-tinged dismissal.
Haynes placed her in charge of public information officer Terrence McCauley. McCauley owned 25 years experience in the field. Spencer-EL had none, and the veteran chose resignation over seeing his reputation ruined by amateurism.
Within a few months, Spencer-EL explained to RIOC’s always credulous board that “external communications” amounted to nothing more than “branding” and “marketing.” Somehow, she got the idea that RIOC was more like Trader Joe’s than Battery Park City.
And neither Haynes nor the Cult of Cuomo board flinched.
That alone explains the absence of media contact, refusals when asked to explain and brainless, wordy advisories.
A last word from this Roosevelt Islander…
When this Roosevelt Islander slams RIOC, she doesn’t mince words. After “I won’t hold my breath, Shelton,” she elaborated…
“Now you’re talking with our local elected officials…not because you give a damn about us and don’t respond to emails or phone calls, but because we’ve complained to our officials. It’s over 8 months that we’ve been without a bank here!
“I’ve lived here for over 30 years, and we’ve had many RIOC CEOs, often removed by elected officials. You should update your resume to show what you’ve done: a Covid-19 part time testing center from a group nobody heard of and commandeering a national landmark/tourist attraction (Blackwell House) that our maintenance/rentals fees paid to renovate that you now want to use for your new office!”
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