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Monday, February 10, 2014

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Roosevelt Island Air Quality, Tram Elevator, Amalgamated Bank Mortgage Seminar, Experts List, RIRA Non Profit Compliance and Code Of Ethics

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy sends the following Report To The Community:
The Non Profit Revitalization Act of 2013

Effective July 1, the Act mandates every nonprofit to adopt a conflict of interest policy to ensure action in the nonprofit’s best interest. This provision applies to all NYS nonprofits. Among other things, the Act requires that the conflict of interest policy include the following: (1) a definition of what constitutes a conflict of interest; (2) procedures for disclosing a conflict of interest; (3) a prohibition against any attempt by the person with the conflict of interest to influence improperly the deliberation or voting on the matter giving rise to such conflict; and (4) a requirement that the existence and resolution of the conflict be documented in the nonprofit’s records, including the minutes of any meeting at which the conflict was discussed or voted upon. RIRA is acting to have an explicit policy adopted as necessary.

Code of Ethical Conduct

The ad hoc Ethics Committee has reviewed codes of ethical conduct from a variety of organizations and come up with a suggested code. The core issue is how we treat each other. We will be holding a public meeting on Thursday February 20 at 8pm to get public comment. Then at the March RIRA meeting, it will be voted on. Watch for more information. I believe that as a non-governing body, we are essentially an advocacy organization. We must first decide what we are going to advocate for, how we will do it and then speak with one voice. If we cannot do that cooperatively, then we become a clamor of competing voices and no one knows what we as a group stand for or will care to listen to us.

Balls in the air

The Super Bowl is a great example of teamwork. Each player does what he can at the moment where it can do the most good and try not to go crashing into another team member. On Roosevelt Island we are all on the same team since we all want our community to run smoothly and support our residents. I like to treat members of RIOC as our teammates. With this attitude, we all work together to get the ball to the goal.

Planning Committee

One example of balls in the air is the idea and planning of an air monitoring project on Main Street. On our internal blog, we began talking about Cornell and their agreement to do air monitoring only on their construction site. We understand that Cornell is worried about being blamed for pollution that might not be caused by them, so therefore they only want monitoring equipment on their site. However we had a lively conversation on our list serve about general air quality concerns on the Island from the amount of pollution generated from the bridge and the electric plant and other construction around the City. Therefore I suggested that we start an ad hoc committee to study this. Ball was tossed and picked up by Howard Polivy RIOC Board member who thought this was an interesting concept. He did a small amount of research and discovered that Queens College is doing an air quality study. He threw the ball to me. I passed it along to Helen Chirivas who had expressed interest in this issue. She researched a little more and tossed it to Frank Farance who called Queens College and decided to take this idea into the Planning Committee. Now ball is with Frank Farance who is in discussion with Queens College about getting air quality equipment on Roosevelt Island and having us be a part of their Citywide study. But first money needs to be raised for the equipment. Lets see where this goes from here. Ball is still in the air. We will be watching. It’s an exciting project.

Island Services

The committee has been advocating to fix the tram elevator. RIOC has acted on this problem.The elevator upgrade will take around a year and in the mean time RIOC plans to expedite fixing the broken elevator and is trying to avoid the freezing problem that was causing it to break in the first place.

Aaron Hamburger and Frank Farance have been talking with Cy Opperman at RIOC on certain bus related issues. On April 1, there will be no fares on the red bus, but the street parking fees will double to make up for lost revenue.

Housing Committee arranged a mortgage seminar

On Wednesday February 26, 7pm at the bank, Amalgamated Bank will be providing a mortgage seminar for residential housing.

Experts List Outreach

The experts list, an initiative of the government relations committee, is a panel of residents who have attained the highest levels in their chosen fields and who have agreed to make themselves available pro bono mostly to help address specific ad hoc questions and issues. I hope that by compiling such a list it will become easier for the community to seek answers and develop collaborative strategies with other interested parties such as RIOC and elected officials who might want to run questions and ideas by specialists in fields about generally accepted principles. We need anyone with a little time and energy to volunteer their expertise on issues they really care about. It could be you. We need people with all sorts of expertise who understand engineering, architecture, information systems. We need organizers, artists, designers technicians, educators, attorneys, psychologists, social workers, scientists. We hope by developing a panel of experts and interested volunteers ready to step in for particular issues and interests that we should speed the process of aiding and helping to build our community. You would help amplify and improve RIRA’s and perhaps RIOC’s ability to develop plans and responses to evolving issues.

Some concerns we face are land-use and facility development issues. For example the Motorgate arcade is a large space which could be put to good use. Another example might be to propose utilization of the old tram cars. Uses evolve, and there are fields and parks to be considered. Finally without regard to specific projects it would be wonderful if your expertise could help build an overall strategic plan could be developed to carry Roosevelt Island forward further into the 21st century.

Youth mentoring may be an important component and an opportunity for all sorts of people in the community to spend a little time to work with their neighbors, and maybe aid someone in need of occasional help and some information.

You can certainly help in your field of interests and also provide services in the community. For example, during the Cornell ULURP year we needed engineers, scientists, construction experts to read various chapters of an 800 page draft environmental impact study and give their comments. We were fortunate to have the benefit of some scientists, engineers, a City planner and attorneys to read the relevant sections. But we could have used more. People move in and out of volunteer work and we need an easy way to reach experts as we need them. If you are willing to periodically give us the benefit of your knowledge, please email your interest to with the subject line Experts List. Also, you may attend one of RIRA’s ongoing committees. We will be asking RIOC and the elected officials how they could use occasional expert input and will be developing a template for each expert to complete. But first we need more members on our government relations committee. If you would like to help us develop the questionnaire for this experts list, please join the government relations committee.

Thank you for your time and again thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the community.
This is Ms. Polivy's final RIRA President's Report after resigning last week from RIRA.

Ms. Polivy has accomplished many positive things for the Roosevelt Island community on RIRA, should be proud of that work and thanked for her contributions to the community.


Bill Blass said...

I am sick of the press glorifying Seymour Hoffman.if he was black they would be calling him a junkie