Breaking promises and rules is commonplace at loosely governed RIOC, and this time, it starts at the top. At a hearing early this month in Albany, RuthAnne Visnauskis – RIOC board chairperson and Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner – promised she’d increase community involvement on Roosevelt Island. Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright challenged her as had Senator Liz Kreuger. But, yesterday, she flopped again as she has throughout her oversight of RIOC.
by David Stone
With RIOC in turmoil and anger mounting over parking garage rate hikes and outrageous new member fees at Sportspark, Visnauskis readily told Seawright she’d give attention to increased community engagement. But when her first chance arose, she flopped instantly. It’s a tradition with her.
No efforts at community engagement followed nor was a task force set up. But when an opportunity arose to bring the community in or at least deliver some insight, Visnauskis dodged it.
Along with RIOC, long an absentee landlord of sorts, she delayed a scheduled board meeting, set for March 16th, until April.
This was more significant than it seems because she canceled February’s meeting altogether while community relations are at a low boil.
Breaking promises here means there will not be any genuine community involvement in the entire first quarter of 2023. And no business requiring board approval can be initiated.
Breaking Promises at a Critical Time: A Tradition
Preferring to send surrogates, Visnauskis’s only appearance at a board meeting occurred in July 2022. That’s when she showed up to bless the racially charged firing of Susan Rosenthal and tap Shelton J. Haynes as her successor.
Mainly a governor’s tool, Visnauskis apparently acted at the behest of Andrew Cuomo.
Now, with RIOC a mismanaged, bunkered mess, she extends her negligence by putting off another board meeting. There has not been a board meeting since Christmas week, and RIOC’s troubled CEO Shelton J. Haynes has not appeared in six months. He skipped the December meeting for unclear reasons