Fade to Black as RIOC Shuts Down the Last Open Community Link

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Turn out the lights. Fade to Black. According to reports, RIOC shuts down the far-from-threatening monthly PSD appearances before a Common Council committee. That’s right. Chief Kevin Brown will no longer lob back softball questions from a powerless committee. Here’s why.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Turn out the lights, the party's over
They say that all good things must end
Call it a night, the party's over
And tomorrow starts the same old thing again

-Willie Nelson

Following Governor Kathy Hochul’s laughable commitment to transparency and accountability, she stood by as RIOC, an agency she controls, deepened into bunker mode. President/CEO Seldom Seen Shelton Haynes not only pulled farther back from the community, but he also hauled together a circle of loyalists who protect him.

Public Safety Department chief Kevin Brown is in that circle. His role includes shielding the boss and himself from questions surrounding gross mismanagement.

A swimmer drowned in Sportspark, but although RIOC claimed falsely that Brown was first on the scene, he withheld any public report. We don’t even know the victim’s name.

At an embarrassing 9/11 event that RIOC discouraged community members from attending, Kevin Brown spoke, watched over by Seldom Seen Shelton Haynes.

Three public safety officers were caught manhandling a much smaller delivery truck driver in Bread & Buffer Deli. But RIOC refused to release any report or tell the community about any action taken to prevent future incidents.

As far as the Hochul/Haynes administration saw it, these and other violations never happened. And if you think otherwise, so what?

As Governor Hochul and President Haynes finished fortifications against Roosevelt Island community involvement, the last little light of transparency came from monthly meetings with Chief Brown and an insignificant Common Council committee.

They weren’t much. The committee lobbed softball questions at Brown, and he sloughed them off like a chicken scratching annoying pests from her feathers. His answers went unchallenged.

But even that proved too much for the RIOC’s supersensitive CEO and his Albany protector.

During this month’s appearance, Brown announced that RIOC was shutting down the show. He would not be taking open questions anymore, no matter how innocuous or easy to bat down.

The relentless drive by Hochul and Haynes to cut off the blood flow between RIOC and the community forced to pay for its operations may have peaked. The blood – community dollars – flows one way, and RIOC has caught of the return flow of responsive government.

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