Monday, October 27, 2014

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) 2014 Common Council Candidates, Meet Them At Your Buildings Candidate Night This Week - Is RIRA Vice President Eligible To Run Again?

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council election will take place Tuesday November 4. According to RIRA:

The purposes of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) are: 1) to represent the interests of its members to all governmental, quasi-governmental and private institutions that develop policy affecting Roosevelt Island and its residents; that supervise or manage our housing and that supervise or manage other Island operations; and 2) to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of its members and the quality of life in our community are maintained and improved....
All Roosevelt Island residents, whether US citizens or not, 18 years and older are eligible to vote for RIRA President and Vice President as well as for Common Council members for the buildings in which they live.

The candidates running for the 2014 RIRA Common Council are listed below.
Rivercross, Westview, and Island House have more candidates running for the Common Council than slots allocated for their buildings so there will be a competitive race for these seats. Southtown, Manhattan Park, Roosevelt Landings and the Octagon all have less candidates than seats allocated so all the nominated candidates will become members of the next RIRA Common Council.

Come meet your buildings RIRA Candidates this week as shown in schedule below. (UPDATE TO CANDIDATES NIGHT SCHEDULE - Wednesday Night, October 29th's President/VP Candidate event has been moved to the Westview Lower Community room at 625 Main St. at 8pm - NOT at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Thursday Night's Roosevelt Landings Candidates Night will be at Westview Lower Community room 625 Main Street at 8pm.)
Current RIRA President Jeff Escobar is running unopposed for President. Mr. Escobar has been an excellent RIRA President.

Current RIRA Vice President Sherie Helstien is running against 3 other candidate - Sharon Pope, Helen Chirivas and M. Pathak.

An issue has been raised whether Ms Helstien is eligible to run as a candidate for RIRA Vice President. Ms Helstien was the RIRA Election Committee Chair until October 25, the day after RIRA nominations period ended, when she sent an email to some RIRA Common Council members announcing her resignation as Election Committee Chair. According to Frank Farance:
Sherie Helstien is not permitted to run as RIRA VP candidate; serving in Election Committee prohibits President and VP candidates. Here's wording from the RIRA Constitution Article 5, Section

5, Election Committee:
"There shall be an Election Committee to administer all elections in accordance with the provisions of Article VII. The Election Committee shall include representatives from at least five election Districts. No candidate for President or Vice President may serve on the Election Committee. Candidates for the Common Council may serve on the Election Committee but may not participate in the elections for their own election Districts. No member of the Election Committee may participate in the election campaign of any candidate other than himself/herself or give support to any other candidate. The Common Council shall approve by Majority vote of the Council Members a Chair to the Elections Committee who will coordinate such activities."
I've asked Ms. Helstien and other RIRA members for comment on this matter. Will update when more information available.

UPDATE 8:40 PM - RIRA President Jeff Escobar comments on Ms. Helstien candidacy for RIRA Vice President:
Ultimately, it should be up to, and will be up to, the voters -- RIRA's 'shareholders', using the 'corporation' parlance that some Common Council members seem to enjoy employing, who will decide on election day whether or not Sherie Helstien's recent discretions should rise to the level of her not being elected to the position of Vice-President. As with any election, whether it be to a position of public service or to an officer position within a corporation, the stakeholders will have a chance to decide whether or not one should or should not be elected based on their actions. I thank those members of the Common Council who have brought the issue to light, and have full faith that our community will make the right decision based on such information come election day.

Neither the Chair of the Nominations Committee or members of the Nomination Committee -- who are charged with ensuring that the candidacy of an individual is proper -- nor the Chair of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee or its committee members -- who have been charged with safeguarding the Constitution and By-laws, all of whom I deeply respect both professionally and personally and whom I have full confidence in their execution of their roles and responsibilities within the Common Council, have voiced concern or an objection as to the appropriateness of Ms. Helstien's Nomination for Vice-President.

Until then, and as it should be, it will be up to the voters to decide whether Ms. Helstien or another should serve as Vice-President in the upcoming term. We have a very contested race for which this issue, amongst many, will take center stage. It would be prudent for the candidates of Vice-President, as well as others in the Common Council who are facing their own very contested races -- to expend their time, energy and resources on concentrating on their own election efforts rather than on the minutiae of others.
You can also vote in the RIRA elections by absentee ballot. Here's how.