RIOC Now: Doing Less With Even More. You Pay for It

RIOC Now: Doing Less With Even More. You Pay for It

RIOC’s new trend, doing less while piling on even more expensive resources, rolls out like an arrogant red carpet. It’s like a boorish king and his court, on their way to the bank, raising a Jersey salute at Roosevelt Islanders. Several examples of the freshening ineptness spilled down Main Street this weekend.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

My visiting RIOC‘s Earth/Love* Day event probably wasn’t fair to Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown and Communications AVP Akeem Jamal. Forcing them to strain, twisting their necks that way, pretending they didn’t see me when I walked by, might’ve been painful.

Maybe I should have walked faster.

*Why do we have “Earth/Love” Day while the rest of the planet is happy with just plain Earth Day?

The Girl Scouts were lively and popular, eagerly selling cookies. But look down the sidewalk. See PSD Chief Kevin Brown with AVP Akeem Jamal standing around with their hands in their pockets, watching me at a distance. Busy, busy, busy… No-Show Shelton lived up to expectations.

Doing Less with Even More

March 23rd, this year – that’s when the last RIOC advisory promoting Earth Day, until this weekend, hit email inboxes. Nothing showed up on social media as another community event was orphaned.

The lack of preparation showed.

One vendor asked who they should contact at the blundering state agency because nobody told them what they were expected to present at Earth/Love Day.

In the end, only three vendor tables, including RIOC’s, put up anything resembling an Earth Day theme.

Mismanagement is nothing new at RIOC since Team Haynes/Hochul took over on Roosevelt Island, but this was different. It was different because they’d piled on new staff over the last two months.

Currently and without consent, RIOC charges Roosevelt Islanders over half-a-million dollars annually for a three-person Communications Team…

…that doesn’t know what it’s doing, and we get this…

No takers. Failure in promotions led to near-empty spaces along the Rivercross Lawn. After an exercise class with Island Om early on, there was no programming at all. A few people wandered by, but no Earth Day theme unified visitors.

Topping That…

After leaving that March 23rd advisory adrift a month before, RIOC finally got around to a follow-up advisory on Friday, the afternoon before Earth/Love Day. It lacked a poster or any schedule of events or a list of supporters. It was as dull as white bread when the toaster broke down.

Food trucks in the New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking area weren’t working much either, but at least they were willing.

But Team RIOC topped that on Saturday. A new advisory hit inboxes an hour before the start. While it also lacked a poster or details, it had this:

“Roosevelt Island Community: Attached please find the QR code poster for today’s Earth Love Day Event, which includes a map and list of activities happening today!”

That’s right. Doing less with even more, Team RIOC demanded that you download a PDF with a QR Code that you were somehow supposed to access on the phone you were using. Dopey doesn’t cover it.

Why not just attach the poster instead of the QR code? Don’t even ask.

Three Minds Acting As Less Than One

But screwing up Earth Day wasn’t radically out of character for Team Hochul/Haynes. Doing less with more made a difference, though.

Until new Communications Director Bryant Daniels signed on in March, AVP Akeem Jamal pretty much busied himself with a ludicrous series of screaming “PRESIDENT & CEO SHELTON J. HAYNES ANNOUNCES…” press releases.

But in April, even those got fumbled, although – admittedly – the grammar improved. While we hoped for fewer cliches – “hidden gem”, “unique beauty” – scripted for Haynes, the ANNOUNCES series hit a wall last week.

After absurdly claiming credit for work he took little part in at a ceremony on Tuesday – which he didn’t attend – Shelton J. Haynes was again absent for a more prestigious event on Thursday. But there was no press release celebrating another conservation award.

There was exactly nothing, an embarrassment for Roosevelt Islanders and an insult to the Landmarks Conservancy.

You can’t call it erratic when you have three people chugging along and can’t generate a simple, formulaic press release.

It’s something else.

And More Continuing Doing Less

How was Assistant Vice President Akeem Jamal filling up his days allegedly working for RIOC to the tune of $3K per week? We wondered because, aside from the occasional Haynes promotions, little evidence of results showed up.

Over six months after his hiring, core responsibilities remained grossly neglected.

One example is RIOC’s moldering website. Take a gander at the page set aside for The Lighthouse, as an example. Illustrated by an at least ten-year-old photo of the structure restored last year, it adds a completely inaccurate history. Impossible to tell where it even came from.

And The Girl Puzzle? Nowhere in sight.

Under Tours, it offers a single option – a tour of the “newly renovated Youth Center” which opened nearly two years ago. And for Sportspark, a link for membership information get you here.

Doing less with even more is a new theme with RIOC. Mostly, before, they just failed at whatever the Haynes/Hochul team initiated. As unreal as this seems at times, it’s actual, and it ain’t gettin’ any better.

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