Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Roosevelt Island Residents Association VP Rebukes RIOC For Cultural Center Fee Policy - Says NY State Is Not A Friend To Roosevelt Island Community

  Image Of Roosevelt Island Cultural Center Entrance At 548 Main Street

As previously reported, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) plans on charging fees to organizations using the newly renovated and about to be re-opened Cultural Center. Before the renovation, organizations were not charged fees for use of the Cultural Center by RIOC.

During the February 26 RIOC Board of Directors Public Session, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Vice President Sherie Helsien criticized RIOC for instituting any new Cultural Center fees, particularly as it applies to the Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance.

According to Ms. Helstien, RIOC should be:
... asking for no more than a Dollar a month compensation if they must have something from this long time community service.
and added:
... RIOC and the State want our money. It seems at almost any cost to this community. Shame on RIOC but they have no shame and they have no backbone to stand up for us.

The State is, and I am not talking necessarily about the RIOC Board members, our neighbors, I am talking about RIOC the corporation. The State is and almost never has been a friend to this community and we all know this well....

... Is there anyone on the RIOC Board or staff looking after the interests of this beleaguered community?...

RIOC Director Margie Smith responded to Ms. Helstien saying:
There was a mandate by the State that has to do with grants and the way we can spend money. We have been knocking ourselves out trying to come up with a way to get everybody back in there for as little as possible....

... You say we don't have your back - believe me we have your back...

... As a group these guys are doing everything they can to get everybody back in the cultural center, all the groups and to make it as fair as possible. And to do it without breaking the law of NY State and without going against the mandate.

The NY State Authorities Budget office issued this January 13, 2015 policy guidance:
...State and local authorities, as defined by Section 2 of the Public Authorities Law, whether created as public benefit corporations or formed as not- for-profit corporations, have only those powers explicitly granted or necessarily implied by statute. Accordingly, state and local authorities may engage in only those activities and exercise those powers which are expressly authorized in law or which are incidental to performing their statutory purposes.

Authorities Budget Office Policy Guidance: This limitation applies to the power of a state or local authority to award its monies in the form of grants and loans to public or private interests. Such financial assistance is prohibited unless expressly authorized in statute.

A state and local authority (other than an industrial development agency) formed as public benefit corporation may not award grants or issue loans of its own funds unless such power is expressly permitted in its enabling statute. The authority to make grants and execute loans is not an implied power of a public benefit corporation....
Apparently, RIOC can no longer subsidize Roosevelt Island organizations with below market rent for space it controls under this new NY State mandate.

More on Cultural Center fee issue from previous post.


YetAnotherRIer said...

If we all could all just agree on having all our taxes increased so they can support everything we need and want, none of these fees would be necessary. Last time I checked, though, increasing taxes is a big huge no in this country.

Frank Farance said...

RIRA looking for public purpose funds, but according to Helstien: RIOC not a friend to this community. RIRA VP Sherie Helstien has, in fact, precipitated much of this recent NYS Inspector General review with her fraudulent $10K proposal that RIRA went along with. It just seems that Ms. Helstien and her advocates are willing to go along with any argument. And, of course, we always need to exempt the RIOC Board members (whose wives, Ellen Polivy and Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, are directors in the RIRA corporation) from any culpability - not! And did I mention that these same spouses are on the very tiny RIRA Ethnics Committee, which refines complaints against members and establishes a arbitrary code of conduct, which then leads to expulsion proceedings and other punishment?

So when Mike Shinozaki was haplessly defending RIOC's Public Safety Officers a two years ago at a RIRA PSC (Public Safety Committee) rally against PSD Abuse, I asked Mr. Shinozaki what kind of progress the RIOC Board had made on PSD Abuse. Because of my question, Matt Katz, Sherie Helstien, Ellen Polivy, and Lynne Strong-Shinozaki were all ready to have me expelled from the RIRA PSC because, according to them, my question to a RIOC Board member would cause elected officials to ignore RIRA's concerns on PSD abuse ... blah blah blah (all huge conflicts of interest operating within RIRA and RIOC).

I'd like a clear answer from RIRA's Ethics Committee: are Ms. Helstien's comments in violation of their Code of Ethics? And I'd like some explanatory rationale as to why or why not.

YetAnotherRIer said...

"Because of my question [certain RIRA members] were all ready to have me expelled from the RIRA PSC because [ ... ]"

That is one way to see this. The other, of course, is that they wanted to expel you because your ways of approaching issues is destructive.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: No need to reargue, the community was very upset with the PSD abuse, the conflict-of-interest crowd (Polivy, Shinozaki, etc.) tried to shield RIOC and its Board. And, you weren't present. Ask Rick, he remembers.

roger said...

OMG! Is my eyes profusley fooling me?
Did I just witness Margie Smith stand up to "QUEEN" Sherie ? After all these years of rubber stamping ,it looks like the Island's "royalty group" is accepting defeat by the state.