Monday, June 28, 2010

BREAKING NEWS - Roosevelt Island Operating Corp President Steve Shane Out As President, On Leave Pending Retirement - Chironis New Interim President

Only the second time I have ever done this.


Image of June RIOC Board Meeting ( last with Steve Shane, left of Light, as President)

A stunning development, at least in the context of Roosevelt Island governance, occurred during tonight's June Roosevelt Island Board of Directors (RIOC) meeting held in a hot, sweltering, un- air conditioned Good Shepherd Community Center. Following the Public Comment Session of approximately 40 minutes, the RIOC Board of Directors unexpectedly went into Executive Session (Note the Executive Session was not on the Agenda) to discuss what was described as an employment related issue.

The public is not allowed to attend an Executive Session of the RIOC Board so the Directors leave the public meeting room and meet in private as the public waits for them to return. At least an hour after the Board Directors went into Executive Session, they returned to the Public Board meeting announcing that RIOC President Steve Shane was no longer President, that he was going on leave pending retirement and chose RIOC CFO Steve Chironis as Interim President.

Image of Interim CEO Steve Chironis

A resident told me of seeing Mr. Shane exiting the Good Shepherd Community Center prior to the resumption of the public meeting in the company of RIOC's Fernando Martinez and Rosina Abramson and remarking to the resident that he's gone.

I sent an email to Mr. Shane asking:
Do you wish to make any comment on your retirement and leave as RIOC President.

My sincere best wishes for your future.
Mr. Shane replied:
I'm sorry it has ended. I wish the residents of the Island and the staff of RIOC the very best going forward.
Assembly Member Micah Kellner issued the following statement earlier tonight:
“As a non-voting member of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation Board of Directors, I have always believed that the RIOC President is answerable to the Corporation’s Board of Directors. The law clearly states that the Board has the authority to replace the President and I respect that authority.

“I fully support the Board’s choice of Steven Chironis as Interim President, and will do everything in my power to make this transition as easy as possible, so that we can move forward on the many urgent initiatives we are pursuing on Roosevelt Island.”
Ironically, during the Public Comment Session, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Frank Farance complimented Mr. Shane by saying that despite some of their disagreements on any number of issues, Mr. Farance believed that Mr. Shane was the best RIOC President of the last 15 years.

Image of Frank Farance During Public Comment Session of RIOC June Board meeting

Not exactly comparable to President Obama (the RIOC Board) firing General Stanley McChrystal (Mr. Shane) but still big in Roosevelt Island Land.

None of the Directors I spoke with would comment regarding the reason for Mr. Shane's departure but Mr. Kellner's statement is intriguing:
... I have always believed that the RIOC President is answerable to the Corporation’s Board of Directors. The law clearly states that the Board has the authority to replace the President and I respect that authority....
More on this to follow but regardless of the reason for Mr. Shane's departure, he has my best wishes for the future.

UPDATE 6/29 - Received the following message from NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin:
I enjoyed working with Steve Shane, particularly on Southpoint Park, and wish him all the best in his retirement. I look forward to working with the next RIOC President to make the Island an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.
UPDATE 6 PM - The web cast of the June RIOC Board of Directors Meeting should be available soon.

UPDATE - 7/22 - The latest here including article about Mr. Shane's removal from NY Times City Room Blog.


Anonymous said...


Roosevelt Island is going to hell now LOL. Wow...what crazy news. The ridiculousness of Roosevelt Island residents continues. I hope I can find affordable housing somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

This is clearly a huge mistake made by the board. It's all downhill from here.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, the truth behind this departure will come out quickly and we will not be buried under rumors and gossip.
This patronage corporation, disguised as a NYS public benefit corporation has had some successes and failures over the 25+ years I have lived here, but our current state of the Island could not be any worse. Tramless, a public safety department drunk with fake power, disrespect to many long-time residents with good ideas, and other situations make me wonder if it is time to move. This place is no longer safe, affordable or pleasant to live in.

Anonymous said...

It will probably take months) to find and get approval for a new President of RIOC; but that will be worthwhile if a change in management will stop the empire building.

I think Mr Shane hurt Roosevelt island in three major ways:

The unhibited expansion of new building projects pushing the transportation capacity to Manhattan to the brink.

The expansion of the RIOC and PSD offices on Main Street in the most desirable spaces with the highest rental value together with creat-ing parking privileges much needed by residents

The apparent sweetheart deal with Gristede at low rents;with several
options to extend the lease; and
protection from other supermarket candidates (but no protection against exhorbitant pricing).

Anonymous said...

This is a real surprise move. I hope we residents will know soon what the reasons for the firing of Shane were. What did he do that ended his presidency?

Anonymous said...

While many may look to the negative (b/c that's the Roosevelt Island way), I will choose to look to the positives of Mr. Shane.

The island is more beautiful now, with flowers and new fields. We are finally getting a new Tram that we will enjoy for many years to come. He hired Mr. Martinez and Mr. Chironis as Vice Presidents and they have done a wonderful job. He replaced the do-nothing PSD Chief with someone who cares about our community and has lifted the department's level of professionalism. He renovated the Sportspark Facility with a refurbished Pool and Gymnasium. He allowed the residents to hold elections for RIOC Board positions. He forged a relationship with RIRA and kept open dialogue with them and the WIRE & this blog. He was a pleasant man with an open-door policy, unlike his predecessors.

The community will miss him and I hope his replacement is just as good. Enjoy your retirement Steve Shane and thank you for all you have done for us on Roosevelt Island.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I think he was the best President that RIOC has had in the 15 years I've lived here. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

And since he had been doing a good job he didn't fit into the Roosevelt Island way of doing things and had to be removed from his position.

Anonymous said...

So, according to the WIRE Shane was fired for having a different opinion on how to move forward on some issues regarding this island and that he voiced them out in public? What the hell? The board needs to speak up or none of them will be re-elected next time around. The person who put these people in place was ousted by them as a thanks. The same people who fought for more transparency fired him for being too transparent. Wow.

Deirdre McNamara said...

Shane's ouster is long overdue. That a person with such limited respect for the law and overt contempt for women could run Roosevelt Island without even a popular mandate shows that Commie gulag has to change radically and get in step with the American Constitution.

In a less corrupt State I would be collecting millions in compensation for the abduction/assault/grievious bodily harm/harassment, stalking, etc., by New York State thugs at Public "Safety." As is I would not step foot in NY State again without a public apology.

That attempted murders can occur time and again without any investigation by the NYPD and DA reveals a deep level of corruption within NY State, rooted in that bizarre outpost of the USSR.

Anyone considering raising a family there - forget about it. use it as a park, put your litter in the garbage and shake the dust from your feet. I'm sorry for the dear friends I made there to whom I could not say goodbye and thank you for the good part, but sooooo glad to be outta that hell hole.

Shane not only covered up two attempts on my life but added sexist insult to injury. Well rid of. Now to find a Human Rights attorney that actually respects the Constitution and isn't trying to change it!

Good luck with Torres - and thanks for the laugh about the appointment/election..."Dumocracy" rules as usual....

Anonymous said...

Deidre, am I missing something? I just glanced through your blog and I am wondering why you are still on Roosevelt Island. If you are so full of hate about this place and how it is run why haven't you moved away?

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