RIOC Is Hiring, 3 New Titles, But You Aren’t Supposed to Know


Late Friday, RIOC announced three new, high-paying positions, but there’s a catch. A couple of catches really, as at least one employee sees rewards and scheming by President/CYA Shelton Haynes. Are they right?

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Is RIOC Hiring or Creating a Rewards Scheme?

Last summer, RIOC President/CYA Shelton J. Haynes enhanced perceptions of out-of-touch royalty, granting himself and his friends free parking near his Blackwell House hideaway.

“Looks like King Shelton is about to hand out some handsome promotions to his henchmen,” an employee wrote. “Why don’t they publicize the positions for island residents to apply? Why not open it to the general public to get the best talent? The answer is obvious…”

That’s only slightly off because the highest paying new position, Assistant Vice President, Communications, appears on the online job site, Indeed. But the rest may be right on because these jobs duplicate already filled positions. That is, they can’t be filled without vacating others. Although the current employees underperform – almost at comedic levels, at times – this may be an avenue for increasing pay without merit.

If so, it fits a familiar pattern.

Since Haynes took control of RIOC in June 2020, a pattern of firing, promoting and leaving under pressure emerged as performance sank. One employee accused Haynes of surrounding himself with loyalists and rewarding them while others vanished without explanation. A lackadaisical Board of Directors and politically compromised Albany handlers enabled the changes.

What are the jobs?

Erica Spencer-EL and Jessica Cerone have worked as a pair for years.

The Communications Department positions posted internally are…

  • AVP of Communications
  • Director of Communications
  • Interagency Government Liasison (Misspelling is RIOC’s.)

The trouble with this is, after firing Juan Tejada, last week, the department has only three positions. Clearing out his salary may have opened budget space for promoting the others. But since the new job titles duplicate current responsibilities, RIOC would be forced to terminate the other three, if any real hiring took place.

Moreover, the pay scales fit nicely into a scheme that raises the salaries of Erica Spencer-EL, Jessica Cerone and Amy Smith, the current staff, without adding any skills or responsibilities. Erasing their current positions while moving them into the new ones sneaks in substantial raises, around 10% plus, that other employees will not get.

RIOC is hiring for…

Here are the job descriptions and requirements, if you would like to apply…

But maybe we’re wrong…

“It’s got to be to be a bump up for Erica,” another employee surmised. And also her teammates in Communications. But the optimist in me came out swinging.

Maybe they are sincere. Maybe they are clearing out the poor, divisive performers. Is it possible Governor Hochul, who runs RIOC through Albany handlers, took a long enough break from campaign fundraising to assess the mess on Roosevelt Island?

But no, that’s too much for the most committed optimist. If she cared about this community, she’d have already worked on clearing out the pathetic board along with President/CYA Haynes. And, in reality, she has instead stood by while things got worse… Naw, these “new” positions are leverage for rewarding a poor performing, under-qualified – but loyal – Communications Team.

As Kurt Vonnegut would say, “So, it goes.”

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