BY QUEENS TRIBUNE STAFF
The Queens Library will finish off 2014 without the man who caused the institution a number of public relations headaches throughout the previous 12 months.
During a meeting Wednesday night, the library’s Board of Trustees voted to terminate Thomas Galante as president and CEO of the Queens Library. Galante was placed on an indefinite paid leave earlier this year by the Board of Trustees.
Galante’s leadership of the library has been called into question by several elected officials after several published reports of what critics called questionable spending decisions made by Galante and charged to a Queens Library credit card. Bridget Quinn Carey has served as interim president and CEO since Galante was placed on leave.
After the meeting, a library spokesperson sent out a statement announcing the decision.
“This evening, the Board of Trustees heard a report by counsel. Based on that and a prior report by counsel, a decision was made to terminate immediately Mr. Galante’s employment,” the statement read. “As the Library moves forward, the Board of Trustees will continue working to ensure greater transparency and the proper administration of the Library and its funds in furtherance of its mission. Queens Library will continue to provide outstanding value to the people of Queens.”
The statement from the Library did not indicate the tally of the vote, nor did it mention if Galante would be paid a severance. It was reported earlier this year that Galante would receive a $2 million “golden parachute” as a severance package.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who spearheaded the movement to have Galante replaced as the head of the library, also heralded the decision in a statement. Over the summer, Katz removed several members of the Queens Library Board of Trustees, after half the trustees on the board seemed to side with Galante.
The Borough President’s statement commended the new makeup of the Board of Trustees for keeping “high standards of accountability.”
“The reformed Board of Trustees continues to move the Library in the right direction consistent with its educational purpose,” Katz said. “I commend the Trustees for fulfilling the tremendous responsibility and commitment that comes with their appointments.”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who called for an audit of all three City Library systems back in February, also sent out a statement, calling the decision “the end of a long and sordid chapter” for the library.
“Transparency and proper controls are the cornerstones of good non-profit governance. My office is currently conducting comprehensive audits of all three New York City library systems,” Stringer said. “Separately, in my capacity as an ex-officio trustee at the Queens Library, we have already begun working with the Board to strengthen internal controls to ensure greater transparency.”
Public Advocate Letitia James also weighed in on the decision in a statement released Wednesday night.
“The days of former Board members and leadership’s lavish diners and questionable expenditures are over,” James said. “Now, with a reconstituted Board –under the appointment and leadership of Borough President Melinda Katz and Mayor De Blasio – the best years of the library are yet to come.”
UPDATED to include comments from Comptroller Scott Stringer.
UPDATED to include comments from Public Advocate Letitia James.