Thursday, February 13, 2014

He's gotta go (or take a pay cut)

From the Daily News:

The trustees of the Queens Library system are standing by their $392,000-a-year director who moonlights as a highly paid consultant to a Long Island school district. Of course they are.

They’re the bunch who awarded the money to Thomas Galante, along with freedom to conduct a side business . That work got him an additional $287,000 from 2008 to 2010, the only period for which figures are available.

After Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez revealed Galante’s salary — and before his consulting work came to light — Galante argued his case before this Editorial Board. Here is what he said about the salary he negotiated with his board:

“It’s good money. I am not saying it’s not good money, but the reality is, you know what, I am going to kick ass, work a hundred hours a week, I am going to do great by the organization.”

Now it is clear that he is not working “a hundred hours a week” for the library, not when he was also billing the Elmont school district for an average of 22 hours a week at $150 an hour.

Do the math: One hundred hours for the library plus 22 hours for the school district equals 122 hours. To cover all that, Galante would have to work more than 24 hours a day in a five-day workweek, or more than 17 hours a day in a seven-day workweek.

Even allowing that Galante was using a figure of speech when he said “a hundred hours a week,” the clear import of his remarks was that he has devoted his life entirely to running the Queens system.

And that is not the case.


Dear Mr. Galante:

It is with deep sorrow that I am writing to you regarding the recent controversies about your salary and expenditures as Executive Director of the Queens Borough Public Library.

I have always considered you a friend; but for the sake of the Queens library, whom we both share a tremendous devotion, I ask you to step down as Executive Director.

I was shocked to learn of your $392,000 salary, which by any common sense standards, is out of line for your position. It was further disturbing to learn of the reported tens of thousands of dollars spent on questionable office renovations. You indicated during your recent testimony before the City Council hearing on these matters that money for this project did not come from municipal funds. Did it come from donations to the Queens Library Foundation? If it did, which seems likely, were donors to the foundation made aware that their contributions were not going directly to services, books or operations.

While these are serious issues, the fact that you are reportedly employed by another municipality, the Elmont School District, as the same time serving as Executive Director with a huge full time salary, is simply unacceptable, and raises questions about a conflict of interest.
You have always advocated for more funding for the Queens Library and I applaud your efforts in that regard. However, these issues not only seriously jeopardize your ability to function as Executive Director; but also to advocate for the necessary funding to operate and expand the most heavily used library system in the country.

I urge you to consider the interests of the library and its patrons and resign.

With deep regret,
Tony Avella
State Senator
11th Senatorial District


John said...

At the City Council hearing, Galante bragged that it seemed like every week he was picking up an award that the library had won. In his mind, he thinks the library wins awards because of him. In reality, the library wins awards because of its staff, who are the ones on the front lines. When is the last time that Mr. Galante answered a reference question, did a picture-book hour, or monitored a program? Galante has not hired a full-time staff member since 2008, and nearly 500 people have already signed a petition telling him the Mayor and the Borough Prez that they need to push their Trustees to force Galante to hire staff. The Queens Library wins awards despite his leadership, not because of it.

Anonymous said...

Well, did he respond to Tony's letter?

Anonymous said...

Yep....ny is In 300 billion dollar debt....gotta start cutting expenses somewhere. Now that the middle incomers are leaving ny in droves, all you will have is the rich and the extremely poor who came here illegally. Good luck to ny to get tax dollars from people anymore. I suggest they start looking into taxing churches and their affiliated organizations to help close that debt.

J said...

100 hours eh,did ever find time to go to the bathroom?shudder to think that he would miss a minute of a day to smell his own flowery shit.

Anonymous said...

Umm, what? Show me proof that ny is in 300b in the hole. You do realize that nyc gov isn't the federal gov, right?

Anonymous said...

This man is SO emblematic of the problems of Queens.

C'mon, Blaz, make good on "Tale of Two Cities" and can his ass!

Anonymous said...

Tale of 2 cities...

Anonymous said...

Anon said:"Umm, what? Show me proof that ny is in 300b in the hole. You do realize that nyc gov isn't the federal gov, right?"
- - - - - -
Actually, NYC debt as of last year is $110 billion, which is double from what it was ($55 billion) when Bloomberg took over.
Source: CrainsNewYork, see

Anonymous said...

It goes a hell of a lot further than just Tom.

Go after the board of developers.

Anonymous said...

It goes a hell of a lot further than just Tom.

Go after the board of developers.

If I heard him correctly at the City Council hearing, Galante said (in response to a question about the library's spending procedures) that contracts up to $35k do not have to go out to bid, but that the Board reviews everything. I wonder how many $35k contracts went to firms linked to members of the Board?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

commentor 8, you are correct about nyc debt is 110 billion but ny state debt is 300 billion