The financially questionable book on Thomas Galante was finally closed on Wednesday night, when the new Board of Trustees at the Queens Library (QPL) voted to remove him from his role as CEO and President.
Galante has been on indefinite leave since September, facing scrutiny after it was revealed that he was spending the library’s funds — the majority of which come from taxpayer dollars — on elaborate meals, expensive furniture and concert tickets.
While on leave, however, Galante was still receiving his $392,000 salary. In the meantime, QPL Director of Communications Joanne King has been serving as interim President.
"This evening, the Board of Trustees heard a report by counsel,” King said in a statement released after Wednesday night’s meeting. “Based on that and a prior report by counsel, a decision was made to terminate immediately Mr. Galante's employment.”
King also said that the new board will “continue working to ensure greater transparency and the proper administration of the Library and its funds in furtherance of its mission.”
The battle over Galante’s responsibility started at the beginning of 2014, when Borough President Melinda Katz and City Comptroller Scott Stringer were tipped off about Galante’s spending.
Katz and Stringer called for the QPL to hand over all of their financial records to the Comptroller’s office so he could conduct a full audit and put Galante on indefinite leave.
But the board at the time refused to do either
, which resulted in their removal
by Katz and Mayor Bill de Blasio and eventual replacement with the current board members.
“I commend the Trustees for fulfilling the tremendous responsibility and commitment that comes with their appointments,” Katz said of the new board, noting that “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,” she added.
Stringer’s office is still in the process of auditing not only the QPL, but the Brooklyn and New York Public Libraries as well.
“The termination of Thomas Galante as President of the Queens Borough Library is long overdue and ends a sordid chapter in this library’s history,” Stringer said in a statement. “Transparency and proper controls are the cornerstones of good non-profit governance.”