Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NY Governor Paterson Vetoes Roosevelt Island Governance Reform Legislation - Large Investment In RI, Interests of Residents and State May Differ

Image of August 2010 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting

By coincidence, on the same day that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) took it's first step to get government out of the retail leasing and management business by issuing the Roosevelt Island Main Street Master Leaseholder RFP, New York State Governor David Paterson clamped down on the RIOC governance reform legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Micah Kellner by vetoing it. The bill, A10392, provided according to Mr. Kellner:
...that Islanders will have a greater role in the governing process—it opens up the corporation to the public and establishes the principle that Island residents must have a say in how the Island is run.

The legislation gives the public a role in the process of hiring the RIOC President — requiring the Board of Directors to consider at least three candidates for the job and to hold hearings allowing members of the public as well as Board members to interview the candidates. It requires that meetings of the Board of Directors be subject to the state’s open meetings law, and specifies that members of the public must have an opportunity to comment on all agenda items before the Board votes on those items.

The bill also provides that two of the public members of RIOC’s Board of Directors will be chosen upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the Assembly and the Temporary President of the State Senate—who will make their suggestions based on consultation with the local member of the Assembly and the Senate, ensuring input for the elected officials who are most answerable to Roosevelt Island residents...
Asked to comment on the Governor's veto, Assembly Member Kellner replied:
I am incredibly disappointed that Governor Paterson vetoed the RIOC reform legislation I introduced, and I vehemently disagree with the reasons he has given for his veto. By passing the reform bill with overwhelming margins, the legislature clearly communicated its intent that RIOC should be more open and accessible, and that Island residents should have a greater say in the Island’s decision-making process. RIOC’s decisions have a vastly bigger impact on Island residents than on anyone else, and the needs of those who live on the Island should outweigh the abstract concerns expressed by the Governor in his veto message.

“By rejecting these common-sense measures, the Governor has set back the cause of open government and public authorities reform. Nonetheless, I will not stop fighting to open up RIOC and make it more accountable to the Island residents it serves. I will bring these reforms back as many times as it takes to make them a reality.
Governor Paterson's veto statement on the proposed Roosevelt Island governance reform legislation is below.
Roosevelt Island Governance Reform Veto


Anonymous said...

Given the leadership of the State Legislature, having them nominate board members may not have been such a great idea. By the way, the Governor's name is Paterson, not Patterson.

Anonymous said...

Kellner is such the politician. "I will continue to fight ... for as long as it takes." Don't you mean "... for as long as I think I can get votes from you folks?"

That bill was rediculous and anyone sitting in the Governor's chair would have vetoed it - including Kellner himself.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it but I agree with Paterson's veto. Electing RIers only does not make a competent board. Just look at the current one. It's been a failure. What should happen is that there should be elections but the candidates should not be RI residents only.

Anonymous said...

I agree. A mixture of residents and non-residents would make a better board.