RIOC’s Board Agenda Is Sparse for March 24th Meeting

RIOC’s Board Agenda Is Sparse for March 24th Meeting

A board agenda with little meaningful business reflects the cloistered mindset of the state agency in recent years. A spine-free board will be asked to rubber stamp deals already done at a pace set to get it all over with fast. After two prior cancelations, the March 24th online gathering is the first for this year.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Board Agenda for March 24th, 2022

green leaf plant during daytime
No, this is not a RIOC board meeting. It’s symbolic – a swamp rich in spineless animals./Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

Since President/CYA Shelton J. Haynes took the reins at RIOC in June 2020, board meetings have been increasingly coordinated, avoiding public discussion or any suggestion of disagreement. The board, consisting of two state officials and four local Hay’s Spring amphipods, has little to do apart from nodding “Yes” on cue whenever called upon. Oh, and smiling and chatting in collegial fashion.

On the positive side, all three agenda items are under the oversight of CFO John O’Reilly, a capable financial steward recruited by a previous administration.

  • Insurance binders for the coming year. O’Reilly and brokers worked hard at keeping spiraling rates from overwhelming the budget. This year should be no different; that is, RIOC will land the best coverage available at a reasonable rate.
  • The board will nod approvingly at a contract continuing LiRo as owner’s representative for capital projects and strategic planning. In the years since then CEO Susan Rosenthal brought them in, supplementing a highly paid but incompetent staff, LiRo has done well by Roosevelt Island. Since then, staff bloat has expanded while LiRo ran the show capably. Because, in spite of big salary bumps and more six-figure incomes, RIOC is lost without them, this is a good deal.
  • The only other item needing board action is a contract with ENVAC Iberia for AVAC services. ENVAC is a highly regarded corporation handling clean trash operations around the world. They’ve worked well here and, as the only viable alternative, should continue.

What’s Left?

If RIOC continues reading public statements prior to the official meeting, some real world concerns may throw shade on the otherwise smiley face world framed on Zoom. There is also a President’s report at the close. But this is where Haynes mumbles through a series of everything-is-great announcements, complimenting the invisible “teams” around him and, thus, himself.

The meeting takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 24th. You can watch on Zoom as well as view all the board materials here.

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