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Friday, May 31, 2013

Report From RIOC President Charlene Indelicato - Responds To Con Ed Power Outage On Roosevelt Island During Second Week As RIOC President

Charlene Indelicato made her first report to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Of Directors yesterday.

 Image of RIOC President Charlene Indelicato From RIOC

Ms. Indelicato described RIOC's response to the Con Ed power outage last week, the need for better RIOC emergency communications with the public, sewage generator issues as well as meeting with various community groups. Here's what she had to say

Also, Ms. Indelicato sends her first written report to the Roosevelt Island community.
May 24 marked the end of my second week as President of RIOC and the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend. It was also the day that half of Roosevelt Island lost power. It seems that a fire on the 59th Street Bridge (the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge) knocked out Con Edison feeders to Roosevelt Island, leaving a tenuous thread of electricity to the Island.

I know from experience that how organizations, residents and response teams react to emergencies is the true test of a community’s strength. What I observed during the power outage leads me to believe that Roosevelt Island is a very strong community.

Walking down Main Street with RIOC’s Director of Community Relations Erica Spencer-EL, I saw Board Member Faye Christian leading children from the elementary school to the Good Shepherd Community Center for temporary shelter. RIOC employees Fernando Vargas and Santo Verta were already at work determining the needs of the residents, and setting up temporary headquarters at the engineering office. Public Safety Department officers, led by Director Keith Guerra, were making sure that elderly and disabled residents were accounted for and their needs met.

Meanwhile, RIOC employees were working seamlessly with Delores Green, Jim Bates, and numerous City agencies – the Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Environmental Protection, FDNY and NYPD. Doryne Isley of Island House, Council member Jessica Lappin, RIRA officers and all of the Board members were onsite or were calling in, offering to do anything they could to help.

With RIOC’s servers down, Dick Lutz and Rick O'Connor served as our voice in the community, posting our public service announcements, sharing information as soon as it was received, and keeping Islanders posted on the latest developments. The Island’s businesses pitched in too, turning off all non-essential power so that the one feeder available to the Island didn't malfunction. Last but not least, Island residents took everything in stride and worked with PSD to insure the safety of all.

I was very impressed by the dedication of the RIOC employees and the resiliency of Roosevelt Islanders. I applaud all who took part in the emergency response. The experience confirmed how I already felt: honored to be the new President of RIOC and excited to serve this great community.

Over the past eight months leading up to my appointment, Donald Lewis did a terrific job as Acting President, leading RIOC through a transitional period while continuing to serve in his role as General Counsel. He deserves recognition for his work and I am grateful that he will continue to be a part of our leadership team. I am confident that together with my staff, the Board, community groups, residents and businesses, we can tackle the challenges ahead of us, promoting growth while maintaining the small-town feel, natural beauty, and diversity that make our Island so special.

I look forward to a bright future on Roosevelt Island and to getting to know you all.
Welcome aboard the good ship Roosevelt Island, Ms. Indelicato.


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OldRossie said...

I don't mean to dispute you Frank, but I truly hope you're wrong. A voluntary "slow-down" in response time for the "Public Safety" Department is unbelievably irresponsible. Organizing it behind closed doors to me just seems very very wrong...

If this IS true, maybe we should disband public safety all together and go with NYPD - primarily because we don't seem to have anyone available to operate PSD appropriately.

Frank Farance said...

OldRossie: I agree, I hope this isn't true ... or at least it stops immediately. Even with new RIOC President Indelicato, it seems:

- She's all about saying No to residents and Island organizations, unsurprisingly she's all about saying Yes to developers (Kramer; FDR four freedoms park)

- She's clueless on finances (she thinks everything is OK at RIOC, clearly she hasn't read the RIOC budget)

- She's clueless on operations (she thinks RIOC did a great job in the recent power failure, but they were Missing In Action at key points),

- She's thanking RIOC Legal Department (when they have done a terrible job),

- She's thanking Dorye Isley (whose building suffered little and, as far as I could see, contributed little), but no matter because I've heard Ms. Indelicato and Ms. Isley are good friends. That's not so good for Eastwood, because part of the Public Safety abuse problem is its collaboration with Urban American to help remove Section 8 tenants (a large majority of the building) via the Section 8 enhanced vouchers prohibition "No one over the age of 16 in the household has been convicted of a crime -- unless that person can show rehabilitation", which Guerra's Public Safety is willing to create those criminal convictions. Once the Section 8 tenant (via enhanced vouchers) has left, there is no requirement to fill the apartment with a Section 8 tenant, i.e., it becomes Market Rate, so Urban American has a financial motive to support Guerra's abusive tactics. (See "" under the question Who Qualifies for Enhanced Vouchers.)

So if you think Ms. Indelicato is Going To Do The Right Thing With Public Safety, all indicators are No (sure, Guerra might go, but that's only 30% of the problem).

It sounds like a long slog onto the next RIOC President (36 months average tenure for 5 RIOC Presidents over 15 years).

YetAnotherRIer said...

So, this is all based on hearsay? Your complaint lacks examples on how the alleged slow-down is manifesting itself.

CheshireKitty said...

A work slowdown, possibly orchestrated by Guerra himself, should be taken into account by the outside audit team and the NYS Inspector General's team, both of whom are currently investigating RIOC-PSD.

Anyone with information on the slowdown or any other RIOC-PSD misconduct should contact the audit team (@ tel 212-422-0000) and/or the Inspector General (IG) (by phone, mail, email, or by using the IG-provided on-line complaint form, @

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer, I am aware of two recurring scenarios and another event. Although PSD is seconds away, the two recurring scenarios involve PSD not responding or long-delayed responses (delayed long enough for the perpetrator(s) to leave). Right now, I can't give any more information because it would identify some of the people in the incident. Really, RIOC and PSD should be answering your question.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Thanks for the info. Two points, though. If the PSD is indeed delaying they are getting themselves in real big trouble. Somehow I doubt that this is indeed happening. Secondly, I am not going to ask them anything based on what you are accusing them of doing. The reason for that should be obvious. Without more details I will file this away as just another desperate attempt to discredit the PSD.

RooseveltIslander said...

Reliable sources in a position to know such things have told me about a Public Safety slowdown occurring the past two weeks.

Earlier today, I asked the RIOC President, Public Safety Dept Chief and Directors to comment on this matter. Have not received any response yet.

Frank Farance said...

Why Has RIOC/PSD Stopped Posting Daily Incident Reports?

Ms. Indelicato, Mr. Shinozaki, Mr. Guerra:

The daily incident reports are informative to many of us, yet RIOC/PSD has stopped providing reports as of June 3, it is now June 6 (see ""). Why has RIOC/PSD stopped providing this information?

Frank Farance

Frank Farance said...

Follow-Up Questions: If it takes 310 seconds to generate the PSD incident reports, then why weren't they updated with timely information? ...

Ms. Indelicato, Mr. Shinozaki, Mr. Guerra:

Thanks, I see the web page was updated within 310
seconds of my E-mail sent to you. It's good to know that you can
produce these reports so quickly.

Follow-up Question #1: Can you provide the incident reports for the missing days?

Follow-up Question #2: If the reports are so quickly generated, then why was the page not updated with timely information?


westviewgirl said...

1. convert PSD into NYPD officers, make the PSD office the RI NYPD headquarters.
2. Get rid of RIOC altogether, make RIRA in charge of some things, have a Mayor or Head of RI in general.
3. Mandatory meetings the first Monday of each month and all the above will attend and address any and all questions from residents here.
4. Also, make the thousands of tourist that come to our home pay for a special visitors ticket to come over on the tram. Have a place to by the tickets say 5.00 for a round trip ride over. They are putting wear and tear on the tram, and also they just trash our island when they come over and that is added expense to clean up. Now millions more will be coming over to visit the crypt that Pollara and her team have built for the fancy sunset over the city parties. They should have to pay to rent the park for their soirees . Why is it that Pollara and her rich blue blood friends get to wine and dine down there and I cannot take a diet coke and sandwich to watch the sunset? There are a lot of double standards with the whole lot of the FF park gang. They are just using the island to make millions of dollars for their own pockets I believe. So when will the gift shop and café be built? They are down there collecting for it some days. They want to make the ruins into a café? Is that true? Guess they will be adding rides and arcades soon too to entertain the hoards of folks the Ferry will be shipping over. The Circle Line will be jealous of that venture for sure. What a racket, and RIRA and RIOC think FF park is a positive thing? The crime will be going up and we cannot get PSD to respond, and have no NYPD office here.

Frank Farance said...

westviewgirl: Agree with some of your points, in particular replacing PSD with NYPD (training, promotions, CCRB - all defective or non-existent within PSD), and NYPD will save us money ... $1.2 million that could be used on many worthwhile Island efforts.

You suggest RIOC be handed over to RIRA but, in short, it's a Public Authority, it's not going to happen (politically), and it's not something we'd want to have happen (there's a billion dollars of debt/liability that would need to be resolved). And RIRA isn't the best at governance: if you were there on Wednesday, you would have seen a two hour Food Fight (think Animal House).

Part of the problem is: we've had 15-ish years of really bad real estate deals that have stunted the Island's long-term finances (Octagon, Southtown 1-4, Eastwood), we've bet the farm on Southtown 7-9 (read: possibe RIOC bankruptcy soon), and Mr. Kramer of H-R wants to pay less on Southtown 5-6 (his strategy: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose). Add on top of that, Mr. Kramer controls the Main Street Retail Master Lease (an absolutely no-risk deal for H-R), which means the Boy Scouts got kicked out, RIVAA will be kicked out at some point, Main Street Theatre is may lose their home, and there is no other community space (part of the Public Facilities that RIOC is supposed to maintain, according to their mission). And small merchants who are paying their rent (Chiropractor, Accountants, We Are One) are being pushed out ... not because all the storefronts are occupied, but because **KRAMER**, not residents nor a state agency that has responsibility for this Island (e.g., RIOC), is executing his own social/business agenda/mission.

Mr. Kramer's wonderfully brilliant idea is to kick the small merchant (with no replacement), kick out the community organizations (that actually give vibrancy), and replace them with big pictures of food ... as if Big Pictures Of Food creates vibrancy.

Meanwhile RIOC is powerless to do anything about it because the person who will make or break RIOC's finances is: Mr. Kramer. Mr. Kramer and H-R hold so much power over existing real estate on the Island. RIOC has so little leverage to claw back community space from H-R.

And add in 4 of the 6 members of the RIOC Board live in Rivercross, where $200-400 million will be made in profits, yet the residents will their money off the Island as they cash out, yet RIOC Board could have controlled how RIOC Board much comes back into Island's long-term finances, but the RIOC Board gave away a benefit that no other building/development would have: giving away the Rivercross profit levels to arbitration (which means RIOC loses), i.e., the Governor, RIOC, ESDC, DHCR ... all entities that could have put their foot down on profits (and channeled money back to the Island's finances) are pushed out of the negotiations by that Escape Hatch to arbitration.

Along with that, the wimpy RIOC Board does little to rein in FDR FFP and crew. (Now FDR FFP wants a ferry stop, which might ruin possible future ferry services for Roosevelt Island.)

What RIOC needs are: people who are really good at finance and operations, and a RIOC Board without such flagrant conflicts of interest. And RIOC should send Southtown 8-9 out for bid to reduce Kramer's influence on RIOC. And we should replace PSD with NYPD (as I've detailed elsewhere).