Employee Operations During the Pandemic

Due to the current Pandemic, RIOC has taken the lead in prioritizing and ensuring the health and safety of our staff and working spaces. Under the Governor’s New York Forward guidelines, and with the exception of essential employees, agencies such as RIOC are advised to perform at a 50% capacity, aligning with new mandated safety standards. As a result, our onsite staff decreased from 136 staff onsite to 86 staff. We are meeting and exceeding every target under NY Forward, extending available resources, setting controls on spending and restructuring staff responsibilities due to the mandated statewide hiring freeze for state agencies. In compliance with NY Forward, plexiglass partitions have been installed and retrofitted at all workstations in all RIOC offices.

 Here are updates on our overall operations since the beginning of NY on PAUSE:

  • The Executive team (myself, CFO John O’Reilly, General Counsel Gretchen Robinson, and AVP of Operations Altheria Jackson) have been on site and working remotely, reviewing and implementing safety plans in line with the Governor’s directives, ensuring the health and safety of staff and residents alike; while also maintaining the daily operations and business of the Corporation.
  • Grounds, Facilities, Human Resources, Transportation, and the Public Safety Department have all been on the island throughout the pandemic, including each department’s leadership: Directors Mathew Kibby (Grounds), Alvaro Santamaria (Facilities), Tajuna Sharpe (Human Resources), Cy Opperman (Transportation), and Kevin Brown along with Deputy Director Anthony Amoroso (PSD).
  • Buses, Public Safety, Grounds, Information Technology, Human Resources, Youth Center, and Facilities teams) were deemed as essential services/staff and have been continuously working.
  • Teams working remotely: Legal, Finance, Organizational Efficiency & Special Projects
  • The Legal Department has functioned seamlessly throughout the pandemic in coordinating board meetings, committee meetings, drafting and reviewing all pertinent legal documents required for contract execution, and all Corporation related business.
  • The Finance team are meeting outcomes, producing timely reports, bills and invoices processed promptly, and procurement processed in alignment with state regulations.
  • Our Organizational Efficiency & Special Projects team is reaching out to all community organizations to review and approve all safety plans that are required by the State under NY Forward to ensure that all organizational programs re-open safely. This department continues to map all RIOC processes and procedures to coordinate with best practices.
  • The IT department is continuing to provide infrastructure for our employees working remotely and has updated software to improve work processes.
  • The HR team are meeting all departmental goals and deliverables, with employee training and support. This department is also serving as a vital resource for employees and their families in coping with the pandemic crisis and its effects.
  • Our Sportspark Staff have been repurposed to execute weekly operations, including managing the pool, the tennis courts, and the permitting process for RIOC-managed properties.
  • The Youth Center (YC) team worked remotely during NY on Pause, creating health and safety guidelines and emergency procedures to operate during this pandemic. Staff received youth development and safety & risk management trainings. Virtual meetings were held daily, via Zoom, to review programming plans to ensure that social distancing guidelines were applied. We had a successful summer. Please see link of the slideshow that recaps the YC Summer Day Camp Program: rioc.ny.gov/538
  • The Communications & Community Affairs team has improved RIOC’s communications efforts significantly, by enhancing our social media presence (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), while also re-producing a newsletter, upgrading the RIOC website, and increasing the frequency of our overall communications engagement.
  • Capital Planning and Projects has been onsite since NY on PAUSE and continues operations in the oversight of all of our public health and safety construction projects (there are currently 5 major projects in various stages of completion). Other construction projects that were initially deemed non-essential have begun to come back online. As mentioned in our newsletter, our capital projects have been reassessed with restrictions due to the pandemic, re-establishing goals and timelines to ensure that our projects are completed on time, and in accordance with state guidelines.