Quietly cancelled board meeting signals deep RIOC withdrawal

Quietly cancelled board meeting signals deep RIOC withdrawal

Unless you follow RIOC on social media, their latest cancelled board meeting remains a mystery. It was the second for 2022 after the January meeting was also cancelled. A new meeting has popped up for March 24th but without a hint about what caused the changes.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Blackwell House where RIOC President/CYA Shelton Haynes has been mostly absent.

Another Board Meeting Cancelled

Conducting substantial business requires board action – a vote – and that action, in turn, requires a public board meeting, something that has not occurred this year. While RIOC notoriously skirts the rules – with a nod from Albany – two months without conducting business is curious.

Secrecy and bunkering is one thing, but disappearing is another. So is a growing failure to communicate.

“What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Strother Martin in Cool Hand Luke.

Most recently, those failures were reflected when a Sunday RIOC Facebook post advised that the Tram would resume full service today, March 1st. But the Tram returned to full service 10 days ago. Where was RIOC? Didn’t they notice? Were they AWOL or just unable to peer out over the bunker?

Job Openings

A week ago, the state agency that never gets it wrong went fishing for three new, high-paying management positions. Strangely, the positions duplicate jobs already held by three veteran employees. “Maybe our dreams are coming true,” one reader texted. Those dreams are of RIOC wiping out their vaunted Communications and Community Relations Team in favor of new hires actually capable of doing those things.

But realists – including The Daily – see a ploy for handing over 10% plus raises to the politically connected team already in place, headquartered in New Jersey.

Either suspicion may be true, but the real story is that there are rumors at all. RIOC’s extreme secrecy shut down public communications, including a virtual media blackout, soon after President/CYA Haynes took office.

The Amazing, Disappearing Chief Executive

Since The Girl Puzzle ribbon-cutting in early December, Haynes’s only public appearance was via Zoom at the last board meeting. That was just before Christmas. Residents report the New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area absent the chief’s massive gas guzzler many times in recent weeks. Seeing him on the street is the local equivalent of a UFO sighting.

Not only were there no Christmas or New Year greetings for the residents footing the bill for his $216,000 annual salary, but no recognition of Black History Month floated out either.

But while these are no worse than timely misses and bad manners, larger gaps yawn in the face of community interest. There have been none of the promised updates on RIOC’s alleged pursuit of a new bank for the Island, for example. Same for the ailing AVAC system.

Haynes has not come out for setting an example as the Omicron virus smothered public activities nor has he spoken up in support of struggling local businesses. Rallying, actually leading the community through crises is part of his portfolio. Hiding at home or in Blackwell House while others deal with issues is not part of the job.

If anyone spots Haynes or finds any signs of leadership within RIOC, please alert the media.

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