Two complaints against RIOC have been filed with New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang. They involve separate incidents and are not the last expected.
by David Stone
The Roosevelt Island Daily News
The Roosevelt Island Daily, yesterday, filed a second complaint concerning misconduct at RIOC with the state attorney general. The IG’s self-described role is “…receiving and investigating complaints concerning allegations of corruption, fraud, criminal activity, conflicts of interest or abuse in any entity under the Inspector General’s jurisdiction.”
The Daily acted only after concluding the the Haynes administration’s media blockade may act as shield against public accountability. But it wasn’t until, after four months in office, Governor Kathy Hochul showed that she was not going to reign in RIOC nor would any elected officials act on behalf of the community.
Political considerations and patronage control oversight at RIOC as much as they did with Andrew Cuomo in office. The governor is ultimately responsible for the low functioning state agency. Political appointees dominate the board, which — under enabling legislation — oversees operations. Neither the governor nor the board, in our opinion, are up to the task under current political conditions.
Complaints against RIOC filed…
Our first complaint, reported here earlier, concerns current President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes’s pursuit of outside consulting work. Documents obtained by The Daily show Haynes proposing and agreeing to a job in North Carolina in 2018. Outside consulting for compensation required Joint Commision on Public Ethics (JCOPE) approval. But a whistleblower says that Haynes never made such a request and double-dipped on payrolls.
Before filing this complaint against RIOC’s leader, we asked both Haynes and Chief Counsel Gretchen Robinson for information. A Freedom of Information Law request similarly yielded nothing.
The second complaint against RIOC is more complicated and involves more people. Although RIOC still withholds a trove of materials from public view, a look at limited details concerning a deal cut for bringing in Swift Emergency Medical for COVID-19 testing suggests multiple instances of misconduct.
Most involve purchasing practices and failures in setting adequate performance standards and monitoring the few in place. After another whistleblower said that the deal with Swift resulted from personal relationships within and without RIOC, the state agency was unable to produce any contract or evidence of competitive bidding.
Within the next several days, The Daily plans a third complaint against RIOC. It covers apparent violations of the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER) rules by senior employees during a push at firing then President/CEO Susan Rosenthal 2020.
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