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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

RIOC Director Resigns From RIRA Common Council

Image of Jonathan Kalkin from Main Street WIRE

Recently elected Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) Director Jonathan Kalkin has been asked by the Governor's office to resign his seat as a delegate to the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA). Upon learning of this, RIRA President Frank Farance sent the following message to RIOC President Steve Shane:
I received the following E-mail below, which is appalling.

Could you explain:

(1) under what grounds Mr. Kalkin is being forced to resign from RIRA

(2) what is the written policy that establishes this policy

(3) what has changed, if anything, regarding Mr. Kalkin (and future RIOC board candidates) that would require their resignation from RIRA.

I note that RIOC Directors Kraut and Stewart were former RIRA Presidents and were permitted to be on the RIOC Board and retain their RIRA positions. What has changed?
The email Mr. Farance is referring to is the following from Mr. Kalkin:
Dear RIRA President Frank Farance,

I have just been informed that Governor Paterson's office, upon a
second review of my file and the file of possible new board members,
has stated that I must regretfully resign my position as a RIRA
Council Member. On the original review I was not told to resign. Since
I have been informed, I officially and regretfully resign from my seat
on the Roosevelt Island Resident's Association.
I inquired of RIOC President Steve Shane to explain the reason why Mr. Kalkin could not sit simultaneously on the RIOC Board and be a member of the RIRA Common Council. Mr. Shane replied:
The Governor's Appointments office believes it to be required to avoid any appearance of impropriety because of the relationship between RIOC and RIRA and the fiduciary obligations imposed by law.
I think this probably has to do with RIRA's recent involvement with recommending the allocation of RIOC's Public Purpose Funds although I believe Mr. Kalkin recused himself from participating in Public Purpose Funding decisions.

Mr. Kalkin sends the following message regarding the situation:
I will be leaving my seat on the Roosevelt Island Resident's Association Common Council, but I will continue to attend all community meetings so I can stay informed and in touch with all the great people of RIRA. From the moment I set foot on the Island, I have always felt at home. I remember the first day reading in the paper about the Resident's Association Common Council and was inspired by the spirit of volunteerism and healthy debate in the pages of the WIRE and when I attended my first RIRA meeting. It was an honor to serve as a member of RIRA. It was and still remains the place where I can find the pulse of this community. It is the place that helped start a movement that in 10 years led to my appointment by the Governor to be a RIOC director. I will continue to be a RIOC Director, working with Columbia University to help solve our transportation problems, helping to find a way to make Main Street thrive, meeting with members of the community in our successful Town Hall chats, and most importantly being a good neighbor and friend to the community.

Best,

Jonathan M. Kalkin
Director
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp.

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