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,
11th Senatorial District