A Faint Pulse Flickers with RIOC’s Luke Warm Constituent Services


A faint pulse from RIOC’s new “Constituent” Services Department was detected. After two years of pushing and pulling, Janet Falk finally got a dubious promise during a meeting with them.

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

A faint pulse might not seem like a lot, but two years after first pleading with RIOC President/CEO Seldom Seen Shelton J. Haynes, it was like a first sign of life. Falk had been looking for one since 2021.

Janet Falk is a communications and research specialist. As a business owner, she understands the importance of solving problems and getting results.

In 2021, she emailed Haynes, asking for help. The busy Octagon tennis courts lacked nearby toilets for players who must rehydrate constantly. So far, they’d relied on the kindness of The Octagon’s management letting players use their lobby facilities.

It should come as no surprise that Haynes did not answer, not even acknowledging the request.

A Falk follow up spurred an answer from a Haynes office assistant that, essentially, they were thinking on it. That went on until June 16th, 2023, when Falk confronted RIOC President Assistant Vice President Akeem Jamal on Roosevelt Island Day.

The prolonged delays were weird because RIOC brings in portable toilets for events and such all the time. This wasn’t an extreme request.

The Faint Pulse

Jamal referred Falk to the newly constituted “Constituent” Services, which he heads, relying on what he claims were his experiences in Yonkers. That failed – (feign surprise) – because, after much ballyhoo from Haynes, RIOC distributed a non-working email address.

Falk’s effort and that of every other resident who tried disappeared into the Dead Letter Office.

Refusing to give up, Falk kept at it and finally got an appointment with the team.

“I spoke to Amanda Dominguez and Bryant Daniels for about 15 minutes,” she said.

“They are looking into the process and cost for a port-o-san at the Octagon tennis courts and I should hear back in one week.”

It would take a week to learn about a practice RIOC has had in place for years? And this after they knew everything about the issue weeks before meeting with Falk?

But there is hope, that faint pulse.

“They also said the correct email address for Constituent Services is now info@rioc.ny.gov.” The community has not been notified.

“There have been some communication issues that supposedly have been addressed. The email will be more prominently displayed on the website in the Community section.”

That is true. But why haven’t they reached out to the community again about it? Is it the same old bureaucratic sin? Are they still committed to never acknowledging a mistake?

Note to Shelton and Akeem: That’s not how you build community trust. Transparency and accountability matter.

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