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Queens Library Fires Its Boss After Reviewing His Spending

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | December 18, 2014 12:15pm
 The board of trustees voted to oust the library's CEO, Thomas Galante.
The board of trustees voted to oust the library's CEO, Thomas Galante.
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Queens Library

QUEENS — The Board of Trustees of the Queens Library fired the institution's embattled boss Wednesday night amid a series of investigations into his and the library's spending, the library said.

Thomas Galante, who has served as the library's president and CEO for more than a decade, had been under fire for months for his salary and spending, including $140,000 for renovating his office at the library's main branch in Jamaica.

In September, Galante, who was making $392,000 a year, was put on paid leave.

The Board decided to fire Galante Wednesday night after it was presented with a report that included a review of Galante’s expense accounts, the library said.

The report is confidential, according to Joanne King, a spokeswoman for the Queens Library, but according to published reports, it revealed that Galante spent more than $40,000 on his library credit card for dining and entertainment.

The decision comes amid a series of ongoing investigations by the city's Department of Investigation and the FBI probing the library over its construction spending.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer also conducted an audit, which showed that Galante used his organization’s money to pay for lavish dinners, concert tickets, furniture and Mets memorabilia.

Several elected officials, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, had called for Galante’s resignation. But for many months he had been able to maintain the support of the majority of the board, which in April voted to retain him.

After Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill in June to reform the Queens Library, making it easier to remove library trustees, Katz and Mayor Bill de Blasio were able to replace eight board members who supported Galante.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and the dark days of this saga are finally behind us,” said Katz in a statement. “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.”

Information about Galante's lawyer was not immediately available and the library’s spokeswoman said she was not able to provide it.