Hard To Tell Who's At The Wheel

Stumbling, Bumbling RIOC Lurches Into a Rudderless November

Updated 9 weeks ago David Stone
The shades are all drawn... Anyone seen RIOC?
The shades are all drawn... Anyone seen RIOC?
File photo

At its insular worst, RIOC's inclined to relapse into bunker mode with barriers built between it and the community blocking information and accountability. That's in place now, but it's seldom been this chaotic.

Town Halls As Political Theatre

Part of the problem is that local politicians, all oriented around the Upper East Side, seized Susan Rosenthal's unexplained firing as an opening for self-promotion. That started with state assembly member Rebecca Seawright turning an alleged "town hall" introducing Shelton Haynes as RIOC's acting president into a political ad. Haynes got five minutes, but only after a half-hour of politicians seeking office, preening and smooching each other.

As election day neared, UES Democrats similarly grabbed the another alleged "Town Hall," this one on bike safety. Twenty-two minutes of political pandering -- out 54 programed altogether -- ran off before any Roosevelt Island-specific bike safety broke through.

And then, it was more of the same old, same old, with PSD chief Kevin Brown suggesting improvements that never happened and never will. And if RIOC was really serious about the burning issue of bike safety here, why wait to address it a few days before an election when troubles peaked in July and August?

If you're getting the feeling that RIOC's official management team now acts as a tool for UES politicians, you're not alone.

And In Case You Thought Susan Rosenthal went away...

As most of our readers know, fired RIOC president/CEO Susan Rosenthal slammed Governor Andrew Cuomo and RIOC's board of enablers with a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Now, as an opaque announcement for a "Special Meeting" rustled the sleepy board out of a planned three-month hiatus, she appears to demand their attention. Note: the meeting once again ignores the legal requirements for public meetings, taking place far less than a week after the announcement.

The agenda: "Executive Session to Discuss Pending Litigation"

That's almost certainly the Rosenthal lawsuit. Only a couple of personal injury claims against RIOC show up in a search of court records, and neither's likely to require a board meeting.

A response to Rosenthal's claims is due in a couple of weeks, and you can be sure that RIOC will do its best to keep the public from finding out what's going on.

But we will share with you whatever we discover. 

Hang on to your hats.

Sportspark's mysterious closing...

Keeping things lively and insular, RIOC's clever communications team popped this beauty on Thursday, after hours, of course: "Please be advised, the Sportspark pool, located at 250 Main Street, will be closed effective immediately, until further notice."

No explanation was offered. After investing tens of thousands of dollars in reconstruction, the state just shut it down without a hint of advance notice or reasons why.

COVID? Lack of personnel? Other unspecified neglect?

We're going to guess that RIOC knows, but we have no idea why RIOC refuses, once again, to share information with the community.

It's just what they do.

Last but not least, the Learning Bridges debacle...

Less than a week after participating in another alleged "Town Hall," this one giving time to Island Kids's bid to host a Learning Bridges site in the Good Shepherd Community Center, RIOC dribbled out an announcement that HCK Recreation, a managing partner of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club and neither a local or educational resource, got the deal instead.

RIOC gives them space at the Racquet Club, Sportspark and Firefighters Field.

Didn't hear about it? No surprise. RIOC's communications gurus tweeted the news. If you're not sitting on a Twitter feed all day, you missed it like nearly all of us.

There was no press release or other public notice.

Is anyone in charge over there? We're only asking because the sense we're getting now, with communications resting somewhere between unreliable and non-existent, is of chaos and weak-kneed concessions.

How much longer can this go on?

 

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