RIOC Gets The First Governor Kathy Hochul Official Cruelty Award


The new Official Cruelty Award, named after Governor Kathy Hochul, goes to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC). Special Mention: President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Winner of the first ever Governor Kathy Hochul Official Cruelty Award.
RIOC challenges people in wheelchairs or with other physical limitations, directing them to suck it up and use the stairs.

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The Governor Kathy Hochul Official Cruelty Award

Official cruelty, directed at the public, comes in many varieties. Sometimes, it’s blatant – like setting up benefit programs for people in trouble and, then, creating a perfectly impossible website for accessing benefits. New York State is especially good at that one. Other times, it’s like the recent experience of getting people to stand in line in the cold for hours for COVID tests, then returning results so late they are useless.

But for our first Governor Kathy Hochul award, we picked something more immediate and raw. And we named it after New York’s first female governor because her name is at the top of the letterhead for RIOC, the first winner. This, in other words, is her baby.

Why RIOC wins…

Placing a sign directing wheelchairs to “use the stairs” takes real gall, but leaving it up for six months is extraordinary. But the achievement goes beyond that. The stairs to which wheelchair bound visitors are directed are those used by RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes when entering his office. Every day he comes to work. Admittedly, that’s not a lot, but there’s special merit. His office, on the second floor inside Blackwell House, is also not ADA compliant.

Note on the Governor Kathy Hochul Official Cruelty Award…

Our decision to name this award after Governor Hochul was guided by her outspoken commitment to accountability. We knew she would not mind being held accountable for this one. She might even be proud.

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