“The bill is not about any one individual or candidate for a position. The bill is about the principle of self-governance, which will lead to more reflective decision-making of the priorities most important to my valued Roosevelt Island constituents,” explained Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright about her legislation that passed in the New York State Assembly this week.
If signed by the governor, the legislation would require the next Chief Executive Officer of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) be a resident of Roosevelt Island or become a resident within six months of appointment. Seawright clarified, “This bill allows the board to appoint the CEO of RIOC, determine the term of office, and requires that the CEO comply with the rules that apply to public officers. It is a pivotal step towards self-governance for Roosevelt Island residents, creating accountability and requiring greater transparency.” The bill is sponsored in the Senate by José Serrano.
“Taxation without representation is anathema to democracy,” Seawright told The WIRE, through Chief of Staff Katarina Matic, “And this really is about genuine representation in the business and affairs of our Roosevelt Island community.”
In support of this bill, Seawright expressed what many Islanders have been saying for years, that “The closer to the ground – the Roosevelt Island ground – decisions can be made, the greater likelihood those decisions will take into account the legitimate concerns expressed. That will increase the chances that such decisions will be beneficial and further advance towards improvements in the quality of life.”
Regarding current CEO Susan Rosenthal, Seawright said, “The bill is not about one individual or one candidate. The language of the bill is prospective, not retrospective. I introduced this bill because of the urgency of the search for a CEO that can best represent the Island. The bill is about making significant progress towards greater self-governance.
“I would like to see the bill enacted as early as possible,” said Seawright, though ”There is no provision in the legislation requiring the State to pay for the expenses related to the residency requirement.”
Regarding the failure of past elected to achieve for Islanders what she has, Seawright said, “What is past is prologue to the present. We can advance towards self-governance in the future. We must advocate at all levels for a more accountable and transparent system that is genuinely responsive to the needs of my valued Roosevelt Island constituents. The battle must and will continue.”