When I first met Judith Berdy – Judy – her work as a historian drew groups of us to her tours on Roosevelt Island. But as time passed and RIOC deteriorated, she emerged as an activist as well, the community’s strongest voice, demanding respect and change. Last night, her impassioned speech in front of RIOC’s battling board set the tone early.
by David Stone
Here is what Berdy told the board…
“RIOC has been sinking into a swamp of hiring, firing, vanishing and especially unanswered questions. It is unknown who is here, actually in person, 5 days a week, running this Island.
“Aside from propaganda from the second floor, we hear little of what is actually happening in the administration of this PUBLIC BENEFIT CORPORATION.”
Addressing President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes and Chief Counsel Gretchen Robinson, she added, “You ‘the executives’ have shamefully cut the board members out of picture. When you are confronted, you go to the bunkers and hide.
“You have staff who try to serve the community as long as they stay under the radar.
“Our Public Safety Department has had too many incidents of abusive behavior towards resident who want to ride the tram elevator. Your new officers have not been taught what is painted on the vehicles: COURTESY, RESPECT, PROFESSIONALISM.’
“It is time to learn community respect and not bully our elderly and special needs residents at the tram elevator. This abusive behavior gets more publicity and makes you always on the defensive
“You are promoting someone tonight (Mary Cunneen – ed.) who refuses to talk to the community and the staff is scared of this person. Is this who you want to run this place?
“This will continue our administration in absentia and do nothing for the community who LIVE HERE.”
No one says it better than Judith Berdy.