Wishes Come True: Seawright and Serrano Propose Strong Residency Requirements for RIOC

Wishes Come True: Seawright and Serrano Propose Strong Residency Requirements for RIOC

This afternoon, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Senator José Serrano jointly announced a proposed law including residency requirements for RIOC. Such changes have been on the wish list for Roosevelt Island activists for a decade.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

State Senator José Serrano at Roosevelt Island Library Opening in 2018.

Determined to enhance community/RIOC integration while promoting a responsive board have been major goals for the Roosevelt Island community for years. In conversations with Seawright and Serrano, The Daily heard assurances that both shared these goals with residents. And now, both have come through.

Here is their press release. More as details become more clear.

Assemblymember Seawright and Senator Serrano Seek Expansion of Residency Rule For Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board Members

A majority of the members of the board of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation will be required to reside on the island under proposed state legislation introduced by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Senator Jose Serrano.

The measure is part of a series of reforms to bring great accountability and transparency to the operations of the board, the governing body serving more than 11,000 residents. Five of the nine appointees to the board must reside on the island. The governor appoints four resident board members. The mayor appoints one resident board member.

A separate bill sponsored by both legislators would also require residency for the chief executive officer of the corporation. A non-resident chief executive officer would be required to relocate to the island within one year of appointment.  

“These proposals will ensure greater local participation in the governing of Roosevelt Island,” said Assembly Member Seawright. “Given the Roosevelt Island community’s unique governance structure under a State Public Benefit Corporation, it is imperative that resident perspectives and voices be represented on RIOC’s board of directors.”

Senator Serrano said, ”For years, Roosevelt Island residents have sought greater representation on matters of governance and the decisions that affect their day to day lives. These bills represent common sense measures that will help achieve those important goals.”

Other provisions would:

  • Clarify the residency requirement for certain public appointments to the board of directors of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation and stipulate for their immediate resignation from the board upon the termination of such residency;
  • Provide for the appointment of a successor within 60 days when a board vacancy occurs within an unexpired term;
  • Require the posting of job vacancies on the corporation’s website

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