BY JOE MARVILLI
Just weeks after half of its members were removed, the Queens Library Board of Trustees will welcome new faces.
Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Jukay Hsu, the founder and executive director of the Coalition for Queens, to the library board. A few days later, Borough President Melinda Katz selected Robert Santos, Vice President for Campus Planning and Facilities Management at CUNY. The additions were announced just three weeks after the Mayor and BP removed eight trustees for the lack of financial oversight in the controversies surrounding the library’s CEO, Thomas Galante.
Born in Taiwan and raised in Flushing, Hsu founded the Coalition for Queens, a nonprofit organization focused on transforming the Borough into a hub for technology, entrepreneurship and innovation. He fought in the Iraq War, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious service against an armed enemy. Hsu also put his development skills to good use, leading the economic development and government initiatives for two Iraqi districts.
The new trustee said he looks forward to the challenge of monitoring the library’s finances, increasing transparency and continuing its adjustment to the 21st century.
“As a lifelong member of the library system, I understand the important role that this institution serves. I hope to positively contribute and my first priority will be to work to ensure that the Queens Library has the highest standards of corporate governance and fiduciary oversight and remains a treasured institution that provides critical services to members of our community,” Hsu said. “Once that is accomplished, I’m particularly excited to think about the changing role of the library system and support its evolution, particularly as the digital age continues to transform our relationship with books, community space, education and access to opportunity.”
Santos, a resident of Sunnyside, has had a long career in higher education, cultural institutions, municipal government and construction. He was the COO at the New York Public Library and worked as the Chief Administrative Officer at Adelphi University. He also held positions in the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development, the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Development Corporation and the Dept. of Parks and Recreation.
Santos is a veteran as well, serving as a platoon leader with the 101st Airborne during the Vietnam War. His efforts earned him two Silver Stars and two Bronze Stars for valor.
“It is an honor to serve on the Board of the Queens Library and to join other involved and committed citizens dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the Queens Library system,” Santos said. “Nothing is more important to the health of a community and the intellectual capital of its people than a public library and the Queens Library is one of the best public libraries in the nation.”
Katz’s representative said the BP is in the process of filling the remaining five slots, but has not made any determination yet on who will get the seats.
The changeover came about due to frustrations from Katz and de Blasio over the trustees’ votes against removing Galante and their rejection of Comptroller Scott Stringer’s audit request. Last week, another trustee that had not voted to remove Galante from the board, Mary Ann Mattone, quietly resigned.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.