RIOC’s Board Meets Thursday. Maybe. But It’s Another Mess

RIOC’s Board Meets Thursday. Maybe. But It’s Another Mess

Will RIOC’s Board really meet on Thursday? Given the chaos generated under President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes, it’s hard to tell. There are mixed messages, legally required items missing and so forth. Here’s what we have – and don’t have – so far.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Although RIOC’s September 2022 Board Meeting had been scheduled for the 22nd since last year, it was abruptly canceled without explanation. Not to worry though, their emailed announcement implied, they’d soon follow up with a new date.

Trouble was, they’d already set a new date in a rescheduling notice posted online the day before. Did the right hand know what the left was doing? Firing most of his management team while adding a six-figure salaried Communications AVP apparently didn’t smooth out the wrinkles in Haynes’s bunkered approach to management.

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About RIOC’s Board Meeting Chaos

Although no one can be sure that it will be held at all, the most likely date for the next meeting is Thursday, the 29th, at 5:30 p.m. But no follow up notice has been sent out through the Advisories system.

Here’s what’s on the website:

In a sane and orderly universe, that would be enough, but this is the perfect state agency under Shelton J. Haynes. It’s secretive, and it’s unpredictable.

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In-Person for the First Time Since the Pandemic Began

For the first time during the Haynes era at RIOC, Zoom virtual meetings end and in-person gatherings return to the Cultural Center. That includes RIOC’s Board Meeting as well as an Audit Committee Meeting at the same location beginning at 4:00.

The single item on the Audit agenda points to the future: “Presentation of the Proposed Budget FY 2023-24.” It also probably tells us why the prior meeting was canceled.

RIOC is required to present a preliminary budget to Albany where the overall state budget for next year is being developed. After Haynes fired CFO John O’Reilly, otherwise known as the only adult in the room at RIOC, that preparation must’ve gotten hung up inside Fortress Haynes.

But that’s still a problem, and here’s why.

RIOC’s Board Meeting Missing Pieces

The most obvious missing piece is common sense and, next, orderly governance. RIOC currently hasn’t got a surfeit of either, but this Board Meeting also lacks legal requirements.

  • State Open Meetings Law demands public notice. That means posting in a prominent location, something no other RIOC administration had trouble with. There has not been one nor has there been an Advisory about the new date. Grade: F.
  • All materials connected with meeting agendas must be made available. Unlike every other item on the agendas for both the Audit Committee and the full board, the proposed budget is not available.

Conclusion

We’re taking for granted that RIOC’s Board meeting will happen on Thursday, but with vital pieces missing, you can’t be sure. If RIOC turns around and does what it’s required to do, we will update.

Until then, we’ll keep the popcorn going and try to enjoy the show.

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