Queens Library Trustees terminate President and CEO Thomas Galante

By LOUIS FLORES

In a long-expected vote Wednesday night, the Board of Trustees of the Queens Borough Public Library terminated Thomas Galante, who had attracted controversy as President and CEO of the troubled library system.

Borough President Melinda Katz (D-Queens) issued a statement in which she said, in part, "The reformed Board of Trustees continues to move the Library in the right direction consistent with its educational purpose.  Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and the dark days of this saga are finally behind us.  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." 

Prior to Mr. Galante's termination Wednesday night, he had been placed on paid leave, pending the outcome of various investigations.  Prior to being placed on leave, eight Trustees were removed from office following a series of controversies reported about by The New York Daily News, which raised questions about financial decisions approved by the former composition of the Board of Trustees and by Mr. Galante.  The removal of the eight Trustees was made possible by an emergency reform law passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York).  

Borough President Katz removed six of the eight Trustees, clearing the way for Mr. Galante's expected termination.  In doing so, Borough President Katz has sought to refashion herself as a reformer.  Before she was elected as Queens Borough President, Ms. Katz was a City Councilmember from 2002 through 2009, spending the intervening years as a lobbyist at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig.  Her role thus far in turning around the leadership at the Queens Library system is a major accomplishment for Borough President Katz, who has been seen as a career political insider.  However, the Queens Library system must still face the outcome of various investigations into Mr. Galante's former management.