Shelton Haynes with Erica Spencer-EL, September 11th, 2021

Erica Spencer-EL is out at RIOC. No reason given, so far


On Saturday, multiple sources confirmed that 15-year employee Erica Spencer-EL is no longer working for the state agency. Initial reports say she was fired, but that is not confirmed.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Erica Spencer-EL
In happier days, Erica Spencer-EL at the groundbreaking for the new Roosevelt Island public library. With her are friends Alonza Robertson and Michael Richards.

Erica Spencer-EL and RIOC Divorce

A prominent figure at RIOC through several administrations, Spencer-EL was instrumental in numerous public initiatives. Most recently, she led the reorganization of the Youth Center. But before that, she was engaged in art projects, including Fall for Arts and Motorgate Gallery where she teamed with RIVAA.

Spencer-EL has served as Director of Programing and Partnerships, responsible for community relations and more. She set up a diverse online presence and formulated a concept for branding and marketing the state agency.


We seldom learn why anyone leaves – or is hired by, for that matter – RIOC. But controversy has swirled in the past year as a string of high-profile departures rocked the agency. In Spencer-EL’s case, it was rumored that she, along with others, fell out of favor with President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes as he consolidated support of loyalists. The divisions and power struggles within RIOC sharpened.

Shelton Haynes with Erica Spencer-EL, September 11th, 2021

In a photo taken at RIOC’s September 11th ceremony, last year, the body language told a story. Haynes arrived, walking past Spencer-EL without acknowledging her.

There is more to this story than meets the eye, but full details may never come out. We will be watching though. With RIOC in a chaotic state of change, more departures and arrivals are likely.

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