QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to questions about the City Comptroller’s audit and investigative report on the Queens Library’s finances between Fiscal Years 2008-2014:
“The Comptroller’s audit and investigative reports confirm some deeply disturbing suspicions of the Library’s prior management, and I am pleased the findings will be referred to the appropriate authorities for further action.
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant. The Board of Trustees – which the Mayor and I reformed in 2014 thanks to prompt state legislation – continues to move the Library in the right direction consistent with its educational purpose. Queens is thankful to the Comptroller for launching this thorough investigation upon revelations of questionable spending practices between Fiscal Years 2008-2014 by the Queens Library’s higher-ups. The Comptroller’s recommendations are key in making sure the Queens Library continues on the path of good governance and the highest standards of fiscal accountability. We encourage the Library to fully implement all nine recommendations issued in the Comptroller’s financial audit.
“Furthermore, on behalf of the people of the Borough of Queens, deep appreciation is again extended to all the dedicated staff and volunteers in each branch who work tirelessly to deliver a world-class library system to our families.”
Borough President Katz’s efforts to reform the Queens Borough Public Library’s governance began early in February 2014 when news reports surfaced about questionable spending decisions made by Thomas Galante, the Library’s former President and CEO. Despite Borough President Katz’s repeated requests for information about how these decisions were made, the requests were rebuffed by both Mr. Galante and by a vote issued by the now-former Trustees.
Subsequently, under a new law sponsored by Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry and State Senator Michael Gianaris, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Borough President Katz were able to reform and restructure the Board, which included removing the now-former Trustees who had blocked transparency around the Library’s finances. Since then, the Library has had numerous and significant successes.
The Queens Borough Public Library has served the people of Queens for over a century and is almost entirely funded by taxpayer dollars. It circulates among the highest number of books and other library materials in the country.