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Queens Library Board Votes to Keep Embattled President

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | April 4, 2014 11:46am
 Thomas Galante will remain president and CEO of the Queens Public Library.
Thomas Galante will remain president and CEO of the Queens Public Library.
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Queens Library

QUEENS — The Queens Public Library’s board of trustees shot down a motion to force the embattled head of the library to take a leave of absence, the library announced.

The board held a special meeting Thursday night to discuss the fate of Thomas Galante, the library's president and CEO, who has been under fire for his $390,000 salary and his spending, including $140,000 for renovating his library office.

According to published reports, Galante was also criticized for holding another job as a consultant in Elmont, Long Island, and making nearly $115,000 for the work.

During the vote, which was split 9-9, “a motion for a leave of absence for the President and CEO was rejected,” the library announced in a statement after the meeting, most of which occurred in a private executive session.

“Thomas W. Galante will continue his work leading the Queens Library,” the library statement read.

The vote came on the heels of the library announcing a series of reforms, which include the creation of an audit committee and plans to limit executives from holding other jobs.

The board said it will also conduct “an independent and thorough review of the President & CEO’s employment contract.”

Meanwhile, a group of Queens politicians, including Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry (D-East Elmhurst) and state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) announced legislation, drafted with the help of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, to keep the library accountable.

The bill would require financial disclosure from key executives at the Queens Library and would limit their ability to work for other employers.

Katz asked the board members earlier this week to take action at the Thursday night  meeting and require Galante to take a leave of absence.

“As an elected official charged with allocating taxpayer dollars, I must ensure that they are appropriated wisely — and I cannot do that while the library’s sitting President faces a federal investigation,” Katz wrote in a letter sent to the board members.

The FBI is investigating construction spending tied to the library.