Library Board Suspends Galante

Library Board Suspends Galante

Chief Executive Officer Thomas Galante has been placed on a leave of absence.  File Photo

Chief Executive Officer Thomas Galante has been placed on a leave of absence. File Photo

The beleaguered Board of Trustees of the Queens Borough Public Library late last Thursday night voted to place President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Galante on a leave of absence.

The board approved a motion that places Galante on indefinite paid administrative leave, effective immediately, pending the results of a full financial audit by city Comptroller Scott Stringer and the outcome of a probe of the library’s construction projects by the FBI and the city’s Department of Investigation.

Bridget Quinn-Carey, the current executive vice president and chief operating officer, will serve as interim president and CEO.

“Queens Library has a critical mission to provide information and education,” Quinn-Carey said in a statement. “It has long been a model of excellence. I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees, our elected officials and colleagues at all levels of the organization, including our union, to build on the library’s outstanding work. There are 2.3 million people depending on it.”

Eight trustees were ousted earlier this year by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz after voting “no” on a resolution to force Galante to take a leave of absence in the wake of several scathing published reports detailing his hefty six-figure salary, ancillary occupation and questionable spending practices. Katz and Mayor Bill de Blasio have since been gradually announcing replacements for the ousted trustees.

The board also directed its Audit Committee to provide Stringer full access to all financial documents from state, federal and private sources that he has requested—something it refused to do earlier in the year when the comptroller asked for them.

“Tonight’s decision by the board is part of its ongoing efforts to insure the public that the Library’s actions are being conducted in an open and transparent manner,” read a statement from the Library.

“I applaud the Queens Library Board for its decisive action tonight,” Katz said. “I am pleased that the Queens Library’s Board of Trustees voted to place Queens Library President and CEO Thomas Galante on a leave of absence. This action will allow for the newly appointed board to take immediate steps to improve the Queens Library’s governance and increase the transparency of its operations without any unjustified interference from Mr. Galante. I also applaud the board for voting to provide City Comptroller Scott Stringer with the information he needs to conduct the audit of the Library’s finances. There was no excuse for the Library’s earlier decision not to cooperate with the audit. The Queens Library is 85 percent funded by City taxpayer dollars and those taxpayers deserve to know whether their hard earned money is being spent appropriately.”



By Michael V. Cusenza


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