Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Share Your Roosevelt Island Community Concerns Or Questions At March 24 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting Public Session Via Zoom - For Example, Why Did Well Respected Recently Hired RIOC VP Of Operations Debra Kustka Resign After Less Than 3 Months On The Job

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors will meet 5:30 PM Thursday March 24, via video conference.  This is the first RIOC Board Meeting of 2022, two earlier scheduled meetings were previously cancelled.

You can watch the Board meeting here and ask questions or share concerns about Roosevelt Island issues during the opening Public Session before the start of the meeting. Submit your written question or comment here.

But be aware that RIOC Board Members and staff usually do not respond to questions during the Public Session though sometimes they may do so or address the subject during the actual Board meeting.  

If you have a question or concern, give it a try, you may get a response. 

Below is the Meeting Agenda:



I. Call to Order 

II. Roll Call 

III. Approval of Minutes 

1. December 29, 2021 Board Meeting (Board Action Required) 

IV. Old Business 

V. New Business 

1. Approval of Insurance Binders for Fiscal Year 2022-23 (Board Action Required) 

2. Authorization to Enter into Contract with LiRo Program & Construction Management P.E., PC for Owner's Representative Services for Capital Projects & Strategic Planning (Board Action Required) 

3. Authorization to Enter into Contract with ENVAC Iberia, SA. for On-Call AVAC Repair Services (Board Action Required) 

4. President’s Report 

5. Committee Reports 

a. Audit Committee 

b. Governance Committee 

c. Operations Advisory Committee 

d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee 

6. Public Safety Report 

VI. Adjournment

1 Due to public health concerns and as authorized by Chapter 417 of the Laws of New York of 2021, the RIOC Board Meeting will be conducted via videoconference. The meeting will commence following a public comment period. The public can submit their comments in writing via “Speak up at Upcoming Meeting” link on RIOC’s website. The public comment period is not part of the meeting.

Take a look at the last RIOC Public Session and Board Meeting from December 29. As previously reported, the Public Session comments included:

  • Request for a Pickleball court
  • Traffic Safety ideas, crosswalk improvements, reduce car traffic on Main Street
  • When will MTA OMNY be installed at Roosevelt Island Tram Station
  • Outside consulting work by RIOC President Shelton Haynes in 2018 allegedly without receiving State approval
  • RIOC managers allegedly withholding information of racial discrimination and sexual misconduct
  • RIOC not answering Freedom Of Information requests for over 6 months or providing incomplete answers
  • RIOC failing to make public information about the Corporation's officers salary compensation in proposed 2022-23 Budget in violation of corporation bylaws.

There was no response from RIOC Directors or staff to any of these submitted comments read by RIOC General Counsel Gretchen Robinson.

Watch the video below of the Public Session followed by the RIOC Board meeting in which the RIOC Board approved the 2022-23 Budget and appointment of Debra Kustka to the Position of Vice President of Operations of the Corporation.

RIOC Board Meeting - December 29 2021 from Diva Communications on Vimeo.

On March 17, RIOC announced on Instagram that the newly hired Vice President Of Operations Debra Kustka resigned after less than 3 months on the job. Two days earlier, after receiving an automated email from Ms Kustka stating she no longer worked at RIOC, I asked RIOC President Shelton Haynes the reason for her departure. There was no answer from RIOC.

Ms Kustka was a well respected and experienced professional. Before joining RIOC last December, she was the Vice President of Operations at the Hudson River Park Trust having worked there for 15 years.

There is still no answer from RIOC regarding the reason for Ms Kustka's resignation.

Does the RIOC Board know the reason for the resignation of their VP of Operations after less than 3 months in the position?

During the March 17 Community Board 8 (CB 8) Roosevelt Island Committee meeting, Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) President Judy Berdy blasted RIOC saying that with the exception of a few hard working RIOC staffers, most of RIOC has been missing in action for the last two years.

CB 8 Roosevelt Island Committee Chair Lynn Strong-Shinozaki's attempted to soften Ms Berdy's remarks but Ms Berdy would have none of that and replied holding nothing back. Watch for yourself.

The Roosevelt Island Daily speculates on reason for Ms Kustka's departure from RIOC.