Queens Library fires Galante over irresponsible spending
by Jess Berry
Dec 18, 2014 | 76 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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.”
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various sports by anwarazad
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Dec 18, 2014 | 2 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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This Month in Queens Real Estate: DEC 2014
by queenshometeam
 Queens Real Estate Talk
Dec 17, 2014 | 529 views | 1 1 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Queens NY Real Estate Market Report and Trends

Dec 2014 Queens NY Market Update 

The pace of home sales continued to decrease in November and inventory continued to track below last year’s levels as well.  Sales are well below those seen in the same month last year while prices are well above those seen in the same month last year. Prices continued to track above those from the previous year. Inventory continued to decline heading into the colder months of the year, and they continued to remain below last years levels as well, resulting in fewer home sales. Inventory will likely continue to tighten in upcoming months, but it is unsure what will happen as a result of the decrease in home sales that have been consistently below last year’s levels.

Month’s Supply: 6.2 Months

Last Month: 6.3 Months

Last year: 6.9 Months

*Month’s supply over 6 months is said to favor buyers, month’s supply below 6 months is said to favor sellers, and month’s supply of 5-6 months is said to be a balanced market.

Interest Rates


30-year rates remain below 4% after dipping last month due to concern surrounding the global economy and Europe. Currently, Freddie Mac reports the following figures: 30-year fixed rate, 3.99%; 15-year fixed rate, 3.17%; 5/1-year adjustable rate, 3.01%.

Queens NY Home Sales


The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of home sales reached 618 homes in November, this was the lowest pace of sales for all of 2014. The pace of sales decreased 16.7% below last month’s sales pace, and was 16.8% below the same month of the previous year. This was the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases in home sales for 2014. Residential home sales are down 11%, Condo sales are down 30%, and Coop sales are down 21% compared to November of last year.

Queens NY Home Prices


The median home price for Queens County in November was $415,000, according to the Long Island Board of Realtors. This was .9% below the previous month and 9.2% above the previous year. Year-over-year price growth has been at an average of 7.6% for five consecutive months now, a sign that home prices are still increasing at a significant rate, however, coupled with the consistent decrease in home sales over the second half of the year, it is likely that home prices should stabilize to a more sustainable level in 2015. Residential home prices are up 6.5%, Condo prices are down 1.5%, and Coop prices are up 2.5% compared to November of last year.

Queens NY Housing Inventory

The number of homes available decreased 21.9% compared to the same month of the previous year, with 4,469 Queens homes available for sale in November. This translated to 6.2 months of supply. The decrease in the pace of sales is likely due to lack of inventory, not a lack of demand. We are still experiencing a tightening in inventory conditions which is affecting the purchasing options for Queens home buyers. As we move into the cooler months of the year, we will likely begin to see inventory tighten more for the first quarter, but we are hopeful that more inventory will hit the market in 2015 to help stabilize the pace of sales across the county.

Courtesy of George & Abigail Herrera w/the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty Landmark II.

www.exclusivequeenshomes.com | SELLwww.queenshomeselling.com

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4 Hours Ago
Middle Village is still having strong sales do to the following.

Top Rated schools, Express Buses to Manhattan, Nursery Schools, all the various stores and Juniper Valley Park.

6 room apartments averaging $1,800-$2,200 dollars rents.

Especially in P.S. 128 school district.

Best time to buy is now, while buyers in general are busy Christmas shopping, which means less competition for the rest. And mortgage rates are still low.

If you wait until spring, rates could be higher and the amount of buyers all begin their house hunting at the same time.

Advice-keep looking on Craigslist, or Trulia for that Triple AAA location.

Some good estate sales still going on right now.

Find a home that needs some work and buy cheaper.

Place the Kitchens & colors you like.

36 years of experience-Jim Turano/Broker Diverse Real Estate
NYC Employment Law — Pre-tax Transit Benefits
by cjleclaire
 Stephen Hans Blog
Dec 17, 2014 | 501 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

As employers, sometimes it is difficult to keep with the employment law changes, which is why you should consult periodically with an employment defense lawyer and stay apprised of new laws.

At the end of October 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the Affordable Transit Act  into law. Under the new law, NYC companies with 20 or more full-time employees must offer their employees pre-tax transit benefits. The new act follows the limits already established by the IRS , which allows a $130 pre-tax benefit that can be deducted from salaries for mass transit expenses. Advantages the new law offer for employers and employees are:

  • Employees can opt into the new program and save over $400 a year on Metro Card expenses
  • Employers save more than $100 a year per employee in tax liability
  • An estimated 450,000 New Yorkers not currently offered pre-tax transit benefits now have access to them

The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2016. Employers violating the law are subject to civil penalties but have 90 days to correct a violation before having the penalty imposed. Also businesses have a grace period until July 1, 2016 to adjust to the law and are not subject to penalties occurring prior to that date.

The intent of the new law is to make mass transit more affordable for New Yorkers, and it is also an initiative aligned with deal with climate changes.

Stay on top of legal changes by consulting with skilled lawyers. Our employment defense attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates offer employers decades of legal experience that helps protect their rights along with their bottom lines.

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