Concerns About Groundskeeping Changes Earn a RIOC Jersey Salute

Bad RIOC Strikes Again, Flipping the Bird at Residents

Updated 8 weeks ago David Stone
Resident worries about more of this get a cold shoulder from RIOC.
Resident worries about more of this get a cold shoulder from RIOC.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Bad RIOC landed yesterday, *flipping the bird at Roosevelt Island residents worried about the affect of arbitrary changes in groundskeeping work crew schedules. The return of bad behavior bloomed on Monday. Maybe getting back to work where the locals expect your respect was just too much for the execs at 591 Main Street.

*A variation of giving someone "the finger", where the middle digit is fully extended and the remaining fingers are bent at the middle knuckle. Urban Dictionary

No question, RIOC does some great stuff. Fall For Arts is a current example, and FIGMENT was a great catch. But there's also the unacknowledged mess the State made of the Cherry Blossom Festival, the bombing of the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, and who can forget the pratfalls in trying to crowbar the cat sanctuary out of Southpoint Park?

RIOC's high profile wins and losses share two things. First, they come with a distinct big me/little you point of view toward residents, and no matter what, RIOC lays claim only to wins, never failures.

With that in mind, I relayed concerns from multiple residents about a rumored change in work schedules for RIOC's groundskeeping crews.

"In talking to the men who clean our lovely island, I discovered - from them - that RIOC is about to change their schedule to nine to five," one resident wrote. "This will affect the cleanliness of our island and all of the quality of our lives as we wake, walk to school, subway or work in the morning. RIOC ought to consider our quality of life before such a radical shift."

Later, he told me that, with early in the day shifts eliminated, trash left overnight and litter on Main Street and elsewhere could not be cleaned up before late in the morning, even close to noon.

One of my responsibilities is to keep the community informed as much as I am able, and that means going to the not always reliable source with questions.

So, I asked the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation...

  • Can you please confirm the change and the reasoning behind it?
  • What steps are being taken to insure that the current quality of services is maintained?
  • Please identify any communication or consultation with residents before making this change.

The questions seemed reasonable to me, but I wondered if the last item might piss off touchy egos at 591 Main. It's been apparent for a while that RIOC's interest in resident input is minimal. When they do get it, it's usually unsolicited and in disagreement. And rejected instantly.

RIOC's been boosting about "transparency" lately, but transparency is not what RIOC's about and never has been.

As evidence, I give you RIOC's official response to my request.

"RIOC does not comment on specific personnel issues. Any changes to specific work schedules are decided internally and in accordance with the relevant Collective Bargaining Agreement. RIOC will continue to provide the highest level of professionalism and service for our residents and shareholders."

Bad RIOC Strikes Again, Flipping the Bird at Residents
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

This slap in the face overreaction to resident concerns fails to meet the "transparency" public relations gambit RIOC's currently trotting out.

It's a big me/little you shot at residents and a clean admission that nobody who lives here can expect respect from RIOC or participation in decision-making, unless the State happens to feel like it.

You don't get to vote for them; so, why should they listen to you?

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