Galante Avoids Indefinite Leave Of Absence

BY LUIS GRONDA
Staff Writer

Despite protests from elected officials, Queens Library head Thomas Galante will continue to serve the organization.

The Queens Library Board of Trustees had a split, 9-9 vote during their meeting Thursday night. The tie meant that the body did not reach the majority vote needed, throwing out the option of forcing Galante to take a leave of absence.

The board was voting on a resolution that would have taken Galante out of his Queens Library job while investigations of the system were ongoing, including an audit by Comptroller Scott Stringer. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz had previously called for Galante to take an indefinite leave of absence.

According to the resolution, Galante would have been placed on leave from his duty with pay and the board would have revisited the situation three months after the date of that meeting, which was April 3.

“…at this time, his continued critical role in the Library’s capital program is not in the best interests of the Queens Borough Public Library, since this investigation impacts upon his ability to effectively represent and lead the Library,” the resolution read.

But the tied vote allows the embattled Queens Library head to keep his job.

After the meeting, Queens Library released a statement announcing that the Board of Trustees has adopted several reforms to its policies, including an audit committee, which will add oversight to the library’s finances, and a review of Galante’s contract. They said that an evaluation will be made of his deal and compare it to other similarly-sized not-for-profit organizations.

“In the last six weeks, the Board of Trustees has moved very swiftly to implement a series of significant changes in policies and governance that strengthen the institution,” the library said in its statement.

The reforms are similar to that of a bill, aptly named the Queens Library Reform Bill, that was announced earlier that day by State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Katz.

The Borough President’s office also released a statement expressing their disappointment in the decision.

“I remain committed to ensuring that transparency and meaningful internal controls are put in place at the Queens Library so that the public’s trust in it can be restored. Unfortunately, the Board of Trustees missed an opportunity to restore faith in the institution by its vote last night,” Katz said.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, lgronda@queenstribune.com, or @luisgronda.