QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following about today’s vote by the Queens Borough Public Library’s Board of Trustees to permanently remove Thomas Galante, the Library’s former President and CEO:
“Tonight’s action further restores public faith and trust in the management of the Queens Library,” Borough President Katz said. “The reformed Board of Trustees continues to move the Library in the right direction consistent with its educational purpose. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and the dark days of this saga are finally behind us. Now the Library can refocus full energy back to where it matters most: our families – especially children and seniors – who rely on its services and deserve nothing less than a world-class library system.
“I commend the Trustees for fulfilling the tremendous responsibility and commitment that comes with their appointments. They have done an excellent job of making sure the Library is on the path of good governance and the highest standards of fiscal accountability, including opening up its books to city auditors and starting construction on long-delayed branch renovations. Also, I extend deep appreciation to the dedicated staff and volunteers in each branch who kept the day-to-day going even when all else was in flux.”
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 Mr. Galante. 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-removed Trustees.
Borough President Katz then worked with New York State Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry and State Senator Michael Gianaris on legislation to implement accountability and oversight measures in the governance of the library system. 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.