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RIOC Board – May 2023, New Thursday Night Boners


On May 25th, 2023, the RIOC Board’s string of amazing Thursday Night Boners continued, breaking new ground. The biggest boner – President/CEO Seldom Seen Shelton J. Haynes didn’t bother to show up, extending an impressive streak of leadership failures. Chief Counsel Gretchen Robinson mumbled in for him, but she was inadequate. She speaks far too clearly for the cumulative effect Haynes achieves, although she is as superficial and error-prone.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Sometimes, RIOC’s Thursday Night Boners flood over their limits, and this month is one of them. Here’s a screenshot from May 29th, four days after the meeting:

They wish…

It seems that RIOC’s masterful technology team failed to set up mics, which meant violating the spirit if not the letter of New York State’s Open Meetings Law. This also prevented the streaming video from ever taking place. No apologies offered.

One person – out of a grand total of around 25 attending in person – complained about not being uable to hear the discussions got advice from the geniuses: “Move forward!”

“Downright rude,” the resident commented.

What advice does Team RIOC have for those who will never see the meeting at all because it wasn’t recorded or streamed?

President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes couldn’t make it, but President/AVP Akeem Jamal, foreground middle, oversaw the proceedings.

RIOC’s Thursday Night Boners in No Special Order

The state agency that never gets it wrong provided a summary of the meeting. So, we’ll pick the top boners from their claims of achievement.

#1 Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks

July 4th celebration: Our annual fireworks celebration and viewing from Southpoint Park is right around the corner.”

Wrong on every level. First, Macy’s actually runs the event – RIOC has nothing to do with it – but has not announced a location for filling the sky with lights yet. RIOC is apparently taking tips from websites claiming an East River event since January. Sadly, the local master of copy and paste repeated the mistake.

But forget that. The meanest boner of the evening was “the celebration and viewing from Southpoint Park,” which RIOC under Seldom Seen Shelton has not allowed in years. Maybe Haynes’s Albany shadow is not aware of Haynes’s annual cold shoulder to residents’ appeals.

Let’s hope they’re all right, but don’t expect Seldom Seen Shelton to allow celebrating in Southpoint Park. In the past, he’s never had enough respect for disappointed Roosevelt Islanders to stretch so far as offering an explanation.

In the years before Haynes, the 4th of July meant get togethers in Southpoint Park, food trucks, picnics and a clear view of the fireworks a half-mile south in the East River.

#2 OMNY for the Tram

OMNY update: RIOC and MTA are finalizing discussions and agreements for OMNY installations which are still on track for the second quarter of 2023.”

Uhm, this is “the second quarter of 2023” and RIOC surrendered millions in unearned income to the MTA while taxing Roosevelt Islanders for the losses. Any word on that?

#3 Constituent Services

Constituent Services Announcement: RIOC will have staff to take inquires, track them, and provide resolutions to residents. This team will be at multiple locations on the island (Older Adult Center, PSD, Sportspark, etc.) to provide optimal customer service to the public.”

What’s worse, offering “constituent services” where there are no constituents or referring to Roosevelt Islanders as “customers?”

Amateur night again for our overpaid Communications Team.

One insider wondered why Haynes didn’t just exit the Blackwell House bunker every once in a while and take the pulse on Main Street. Wouldn’t that be better than reassigning personnel who allegedly already have full time jobs?

Is this just another way of shrouding Dear Leader from pesky Roosevelt Islanders?

#4 F Train Memorial Day Weekend Shutdown

“F-train maintenance work will cause a service disruption this weekend (Memorial Weekend). RIOC will be providing shuttle buses to assist commuters and will also have an increased PSD presence on both sides of the TRAM.”

Connoisseurs of the con appreciated Robinson’s performance on this one. Thoughtfully looking right, then left, the Chief Council mumbling in for Haynes reassured the board, “We’ll be providing shuttles.”

But she left out the inadequate 4-hour per day coverage or the impossibility of pulling off a 15-minute turn around involving the Queensboro Bridge. No one could rely on this, and few tried.

Fortunately, lines at the Tram never got out of control because PSD did a good job of separating tourists from residents by setting up independent lines for people needing to buy MetroCards. Roosevelt Islanders, as a result, got preferential treatment. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked.

#5 RIOC Fudging at Its Worst

“That word salad at the end about the Coler thing is pretty lame even for RIOC,” a Roosevelt Islander said. “I didn’t know that it will take McArthur Genius Grants to fix some sidewalks, paint some crosswalks, put up a Stop or a Yield sign, and give the Coler folks some relief…”

No comment. We’ll just let this Team RIOC gem float free.

Coler Hospital: Concerning the curb area near Coler Hospital, RIOC completed two comprehensive assessments. A careful determination was made, and the area should not be made into a pathway for the following reasons: The pathway could lead to the public utilizing this area to spill into moving traffic (there is no crosswalk); This area could result in a potentially hazardous condition involving a bike, scooter, or wheelchair traveling at a moderate speed that could also result in an accident.With this in mind, RIOC remains committed to addressing the community concerns and calls for a pedestrian pathway to be installed. As part of RIOC’s roadways project, currently in the design phase, RIOC is looking at all signage, roadway egress, and access points, including ADA-compliant pedestrian walk paths.” 


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