Bryant Daniels is “…a very strong communicator who understands the New York City media landscape and what it takes to effectively communicate with a large and diverse audience,” RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes said. Okay, so what’s he doing here on tiny Roosevelt Island? What’s missing in this story?
By David Stone
Even before the announcement, it was clear that something had changed. For the first time in recent memory, RIOC released a complicated advisory that was clear, concise and without grammatical fumbles. And with none of the trying-too-hard beginner’s overwriting that became routine.
It covered transportation arrangements in response to the flood of cherry blossom season visitors on Roosevelt Island. It was so nicely done that I wondered if RIOC’s Albany handlers had sent in a pro to compensate for Communications AVP Akeem Jamal’s all-too-obvious weaknesses.
Well, maybe… but, it appears, the author was Daniels, a new hire that Haynes failed to announce for two months, not even during an April 5th public board meeting. That was just one of several unexplained mysteries.
Bryant Daniels: Mystery #1
Like, who is he?
Unlike other recent hires, Daniels’s resume – according to his LinkedIn Page – describes a competent, capable individual. His biggest success covered over six years of working in a high-profile position in communications with Congressman Eliot Engel. That ended only when Engel lost his bid for reelection in 2020.
Although he earned a Masters Degree in Political Science from Fordham University, you don’t hold down jobs like that unless you’re good, loyal and committed.
In Daniels, Roosevelt Island has a strong hire, one unlikely without an unfortunate turn in politics.
But here’s a concern. The new man is far better qualified and experienced than his lightweight boss or his CEO, Shelton Haynes. And we’ve seen how Haynes deals with underlings who outshine him – starting with Jonna Carmona-Graf on down the line to John O’Reilly.
The chemistry seems precarious.
So, Why Two Faces?
We learned about Bryant Daniels’s hiring hours before Haynes paraded his embarrassing (or should be) “PRESIDENT & CEO SHELTON ANNOUNCES…” routine before the community. An internationally circulated press release floated airily across the country. But strangely, RIOC trimmed it down before email-blasting it as an advisory.
It substituted “NEW APPOINTMENT” with “BRYANT DANIELS…” But other changes were more radical.
First, it stripped out a long paragraph describing Daniels’s experience and qualifications, which can be found on RIOC’s webpage. Why skip that when introducing a new professional hire to the community?
Only RIOC knows.
Also clipped in its entirety was an Akeem Jamal section where he starts out with one of the clumsy gaffs for which he’s become known: “I cannot underscore the importance of hiring talented professionals who embody the guiding principles and mission of RIOC…” Why not? Keyboard jammed?
(Could someone loan Jamal an “enough” and insert if after “underscore” or “RIOC?”)
Even that may not outweigh this humdinger: “I look forward to working with him as a thought partner on critical projects and developing and coordinating comprehensive communication programs to promote Roosevelt Island.”
A thought partner…? Really. Maybe a tutor.
And since we’re full up, what on Earth are you promoting and why?
He Will Learn…
Maybe he was just polishing his new, thin-skinned boss, but Daniels said this, “President Haynes, AVP Akeem Jamal, and the rest of the RIOC Executive Team have an ambitious vision for Roosevelt Island…”
Maybe he’ll let the community know what that is and why no one who lives here was consulted or knows anything about it.
So far, it hasn’t escaped the Blackwell House bunker.