Continuing its defiance of community values, RIOC yesterday ignored a request for information about vaccination rates among its employees. The Daily made the request following reader interest in the topic.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

About the Rules and RIOC Vaccination Rates

Late in July, then Governor Andrew Cuomo said that all state employees must be vaccinated by Labor Day or undergo weekly testing. “It’s smart, it’s fair and it’s in everyone’s interest,” he added.

But we don’t know if RIOC has complied with any part of the mandate. Because the super secret, bunkered state agency asks groups using its facilities to meet a vaccine requirement, revealing their own rates makes sense.

We asked RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes, Chief Counsel Gretchen Robinson and Communications Director Erica Spencer-EL about “…vaccination rates and requirements, especially PSD and other groups, like the Youth Center staff, with high levels of public contact.”

The answer: Stony silence.

The stunning absence of accountability within RIOC is widespread. But holding back on information vital to public health goes beyond irresponsible.

One sad possibility is that they’re not keeping track and can’t answer.

RIOC Indifference and Why It Matters

Tracking back over a year, we recall that at least two Public Safety Officers died from COVID-19 in 2020. Susan Rosenthal, then leading the state agency, promised a public tribute as soon as conditions allowed.

With Shelton J. Haynes now in charge and the pandemic subsiding, a May 2021 date was promised.

But when that month passed without another word, board member Michael Shinozaki asked about it publicly.

Haynes claimed that RIOC missed the May date because it wasn’t good for the officers’ families. He, then, said an August date was in the works. But that didn’t happen either, and there’s been no further word.

This resonates. Numerous quarantines within RIOC, many involving PSD, went unacknowledged as vital community information is routinely withheld.


Hopes that a new governor might bring a change in tone at RIOC are fading. The state agencies continues acting more like a cloistered monastery than a responsible public body.

And this time it’s serious. Roosevelt Islanders have a right to know the details of how its governing body handles threats to public health. New York State, even under a new governor, apparently does not agree.

More from the Roosevelt Island Daily

  • Fear on the F Train Shuttle during rush hour with no help anywhere
    While the MTA and cooperative media shovel safety pabulum at the public, subway fear is real and continuing as an F Train incident yesterday showed. Not only are dangers increasing, but it’s more concerning that no help is available. The city says the subways are safe, but are they? by David Stone The Roosevelt Island
  • Anger Rising Over New Management Policies at Roosevelt Landings
    Roosevelt Landings made itself something of an outlier when new management severed the thread of WIRE buildings, dropping the E by replacing “Eastwood.” New owners, L+M, kept other continuity and built some trust in the community. But in the last year, that’s been changing as L+M handed over management to a subsidiary – C&C Realty
  • Less Compost, More Methane Gas and Landfill Loom in Proposed Budget Cuts
      City-funded food scrap compost programs face potential shutdown, giving way to government programs that turn food waste into greenhouse gas — not nutrient-rich fertilizer. By Samantha Maldonado Nov 28 5:00am EST The city sanitation department’s proposal to eliminate funding for community composting means most food waste collected through public programs will become gas or
  • How to Safely Deal With Wild Animals in NYC
    So, there’s a bat in your apartment. Or a racoon on your fire escape. Or a dolphin on the beach. Who’re you going to call? By Katie Honan Nov 27 5:00am EST There are more than 8 million humans in this city — but we’re not the only living things who can proudly call themselves
  • RIOC vs RIOC Now: Haynes’s and Robinson’s Swelling Lawsuit
    The chaos of lawsuits challenging RIOC now sinks to new depths as executives say they will sue the operation they manage. Believe it or not, President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes and Chief Counsel Gretchen Robinson will sue RIOC itself. For good measure, they will also sue Governor Hochul’s office. by David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: