The RIRA Column
October 8, 2016
The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) is a volunteer-run organization whose members are elected by Roosevelt Island residents to improve our community and tackle any and all issues of concern to them. The rewards of serving are far greater than the time commitment of three hours per month to enrich the lives of our neighbors and the community. Anyone who is at least 18 years old may serve, regardless of citizenship or nationality. You, too, can be active in your community, and advocate for the issues that are important to you, your family, your friends, and your neighbors. Run for a RIRA Common Council position to represent your building and your community.
Pick up your RIRA nomination form – available October 1 through October 25 – from the Public Safety Office (550 Main Street) or the Public Library (524 Main Street). Forms must be completed and deposited in the red box at the Public Safety vestibule no later than Tuesday, October 25, 2016, at 9:00 p.m.
You may run for a general Common Council seat as well as for President or Vice President.
The following are the RIRA election districts and their needed number of Council members and alternates: Southtown (11); Rivercross (3); 546 Main Street in Roosevelt Landings (2); Roosevelt Landings (7); Island House (3); Westview (3); 2 River Road (1); 4 River Road (1); Manhattan Park (8); Octagon (5).
President: The President shall be the chief executive officer and the principal spokesperson of RIRA, a voting member of the Common Council, presiding officer at all meetings of the Council and of town meetings, and an ex-officio member of all committees. It shall be the responsibility of the President to co-sign, with the Treasurer, all checks.
Vice President: The Vice President shall supervise all RIRA elections, all RIRA communications (both internal and external), secretarial services that are not the responsibility of the Secretary, legal representation (in cooperation with the chairperson of the Legal Action Committee, should it exist), auditing of the finances of RIRA, membership participation, and fundraising. To perform the responsibilities of office, the Vice President shall supervise the Nominations Committee, the Election Committee, the Auditor, and should it exist, the Communications Committee. Should the President be temporarily absent or unable to serve, the Vice President shall become President until the completion of the term.
Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates should submit to The WIRE, by 5:00 p.m., October 27, a campaign statement (maximum 800 words) and a photo headshot for publication in the November 5 issue. (A WIRE editor will take your picture, if needed). We will send you a reminder once we receive your nomination form.
Common Council Members
Common Council members shall volunteer for membership in at least one committee. Any RIRA member (any resident) who is not a member of the Common Council may serve on any committee if approved by the chairperson of that committee. Council members are expelled from the Council if they fail to attend three consecutive sessions. Common Council members are subject to the requirements of Article II Section I (c), which requires them to be a member of at least one committee; any such expelled Council member must select another committee in order to continue to comply with such Section.
In general, alternates who attend Council meetings may speak during the deliberations, but may not vote. However, in the event that a regular Council member is absent, the first alternate for that district may vote. If the first alternate is not available, then the second alternate may vote, and so on.
Prior to the RIRA elections on November 8, candidates (and voters) should plan to attend two Candidates Nights to learn more about the candidates, as well as their positions and prior experiences, and to ask questions about both their candidacies and what they plan to do on the Common Council during the 2016-2018 term.
Common Council Candidates Night: November 1, 8:00 p.m. (Location to be announced in The WIRE.)
President and Vice President: November 2, 8:00 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Community Center.
I have been honored to be part of RIRA in the last two years; I’d always heard of this volunteer-run organization whose members are elected by Roosevelt Island residents to ameliorate our lives and tackle any and all [Island] issues. In the first several weeks, I sat back and learned from all the members that have graciously served as Common Council members, and I offered to run an Island-wide survey to take a snapshot of parts of the Island, in all the buildings. Five months later, over 700 survey takers have surely given us ample information and data to address at the end of this and the next term.
I am very pleased to say that all the monthly meetings I attended were filled with collaborative efforts to take on different issues. Common Council members chair an abundance of committees, such as the Planning Committee that has worked on emergency preparedness, transportation, the impact of Cornell on our daily lives, and short/long-term parking, to name a few. Also noteworthy is the Social, Culture & Education Committee, which taught several hundred residents Hands-Only CPR, organized Island-wide events, including the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Egg Hunt event, and the ongoing NYC Compost Project. Other committees include the Island Blood Drive in its 14th year of benefitting the New York Blood Center and the Government Relations Committee, which organizes the Public Purpose Funding process in collaboration with RIOC and other Island organizations.
The Youth Initiative Committee I chaired has organized numerous events for the youth of the Island, including presentations by world-renowned chefs who elaborated on the Italian culture and cuisine and how their passions for culinary art became a worldwide business establishing them as cultural messengers. Other undertakings include the Make It Count Leadership Project that teaches young students how a bank works exposing them to new job opportunities in the financial field. In addition, the instructors provide budgeting and organizing activities and events for the seniors on the Island and get recognition for their leadership engagement.