RIOC Team Thumbs Its Nose at Residents During COVID Surge


The RIOC Team, frequently praised by President/CYA Shelton J. Haynes, is the alleged Communications and Community Relations Team. And it thumbed its nose at a resident’s concern as the Omicron variant surge is all too familiar.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Red Bus at the Octagon Express Stop.

Reaching Out To The RIOC Team

“For more than 6 months this passenger has openly ignored the mask mandate laws,” resident whistleblower reports.

“In many cases they enter through the front door of the bus, maskless and in full view of the driver.  There has never been a day where the driver engaged them or insisted on a mask.

“We lodged a complaint with the PSD (via RIOC website) many months back and never received a response, and to my knowledge PSD never has a presence on the Octagon Express buses.”

This resident shared both screenshots of two requests placed in RIOC’s system as well as photos of the maskless riders. One is close to a child too young to be vaccinated. According to the whistleblower, the same women rides maskless on a daily basis, ignored by drivers. She has also brushed off requests from other passengers.

(The Daily will show the Public Safety Department or anyone else at RIOC the evidence, but we don’t expect it. The state agency maintains a longstanding media blackout.)

Erica Spencer-EL heads the RIOC Team responsible for entries in the ticket system, aided by Jessica Cerone. Last year, another angry resident cited the pair for blowing off entries in the ticket system.

Where Do We Go From Here?

With one of this resident’s complaint now nearly three months old, the other two months, it is well past the time when a reasonable person might expect action from the alleged RIOC Team. And the once useful RIRA Common Council is so bogged down in personal agendas it can’t do much more than sling mud and wring its hands.

Where can you turn for help? The only thing RIOC reacts to, these days, is public shaming. The best way to do that is to have your voice heard at a board meeting. No, RIOC’s board and executives aren’t interested, but state representatives attend and some elected official observe on Zoom. That kicks things up a notch, often ruffling the feathers of Governor Kathy Hochul’s Albany handlers. This is the group that, in reality, runs RIOC like the Wizard of Oz behind a curtain, pushing buttons, turning knobs, controlling the Blackwell House minion.

And, at least for now, there is an easy tool for that. Anyone can register their concerns by clicking here. While the board continues meeting via Zoom, your concern will be read before them and anyone else logged in. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes, it does.

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