RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes must go. Starting with his involvement in the stealth move to fire his predecessor and on through failures so severe they inspired a dozen-page whistleblower complaint, that’s been clear for a while. But more evidence, more embarrassing screw-ups continue. Here are three more from just this weekend.
by David Stone
Shelton J. Haynes Must Go #1
Above, on Sunday, visitors from Scandanavia, two of them blind, tried using portable toilets RIOC thinks appropriate for a tourist destination.
Let’s start with the obvious issues involving portable toilets:
– they’re unsightly
– they don’t function properly
– they’re not handicap accessible
But when they aren’t maintained over busy, fair-weather weekends, it’s worse.
I first spotted the sighted companion of the three going from one portable toilet to another, looking in, then closing the door and trying the next one. There are four in total. Each she found too disgusting for her friends.
Trying to help, I pointed out additional units on the other side of Fireman’s Field, guessing they might be less used.
“Are they better?” she asked.
I couldn’t guarantee it.
Finally, they decided on a return trip to Manhattan on the Tram without seeing any more of Roosevelt Island.
The toilet problem
This is in no way new to Roosevelt Island. The lack of adequate toilet facilities has been brought to RIOC‘s attention for years, but while they’ve pushed for more tourists, nothing’s been done to meet their needs.
This is especially acute now because, under Susan Rosenthal who led RIOC before Haynes, a firm plan was in place for permanent facilities near the Tram.
As part of the deal for building 460 Main Street, Hudson-Related agreed to construct restroom facilities adjacent to the field. Their investment capped out at $1 million with RIOC covering anything over that.
But work never started on the project. Hudson-Related offered a design that exceeded $1.4 million, meaning the state agency would have to cough up some cash. Strapped for money, they said. Instead, they took $1 million from Hudson-Related, saying they needed the money and could build a new facility for less… although they spent far more than that for their Palace of Versailles toilets at McManus Field.
Haynes inaugurated a series of executive promotions, bonuses and raises – including his own – but never broke ground on the promised project.
As an additional note, the RIOC exec responsible for the disgusting portable toilets is none other than Haynes’s close friend, since long before their tenure here, is Altheria Jackson. Jackson was promoted to a $150K operations management position by Haynes without any known training or qualifications. Jackson also had oversight of the Sportspark pool where a young man drowned a year ago in the apparent absence of RIOC lifeguards.
#2 The Broken AVAC
Set aside, for now, the yearlong wait for repairs to the leaking west branch, and consider RIOC’s silence over repeated breakdowns along East Main Street.
The first time hallways filled with the stench from nonfunctioning AVAC chutes was in May of 2021, a year ago. Here’s the current scene:
More than a dozen breakdowns have filled Southtown hallways with stomach-turning stink in the past year, but RIOC, under Haynes, never addressed this separate problem.
RIOC’s deep-thinkers under Haynes’s watch blamed the Rivercross jam on a bed frame they claim was dumped down a chute. No evidence was ever produced, and once outside consultants discovered the real problem – breaks in the line causing swampy leakage – they forgot all about the ghostly bed frame.
But RIOC never addressed the other problem, which as you can see from the above, is ongoing. Logic suggests that, with the opening of 460 Main Street, the AVAC lines are overloaded, unable to handle increased demand.
And Haynes’s silence leaves that as the only explanation of which we are aware. And it’s even worse than you think because Hudson-Related has yet to break ground on the final Southtown building, which will add more strain on the system.
RIOC has no plan and appears simply dumbfounded and without ideas. According to RIOC’s most recent organizational chart, AVAC operations also fall under Altheria Jackson’s purview.
Why Shelton J. Haynes Must Go #3
While Haynes’s “leadership” during the COVID crisis is as feeble as Rosenthal’s was robust, his failure to get his Public Safety Department or Tram contractors to protect passengers from maskless riders crowding in with them is a disgrace.
Numerous complaints about the dangers as city infection rates hover around 7%, triple what they were on April 1st, reached RIOC. But Team Haynes seems to have given up on enforcing mask mandates designed to protect the public.
Here are photos a resident took yesterday and sent to The Daily:
All three sit in plain view of the bus driver. At no time during this route did a public safety officer board or show any more interest in protecting riders than the driver did.
Shelton Haynes, the current CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, is negligent and has made many poor decisions that have led to negative consequences. These include overspending on unnecessary projects, failing to address issues with the AVAC system, and not enforcing mask mandates. Haynes needs to be removed from his position for Roosevelt Island to move forward and improve.
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