Monday, June 23, 2014

Legislatures try to reform the library

From the Daily News:

City Hall and Albany both came down hard on the Queens Public Library this week after its embattled chief executive, Thomas Galante, refused to open the organization’s financial records.

In Albany, a bill to reform the library’s governance was approved by the State Senate by a vote of 59-1 on Friday. The measure was previously approved by unanimous vote of the Assembly, and Gov. Cuomo is expected to sign it into law.

Introduced by state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Queens), the bill would reduce the terms of the library’s trustees to three years, from five. It also would empower the mayor and the Queens borough president, who together appoint half of the library’s trustees, to remove an appointee at will. And it would subject the library to the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

In Albany, a bill to reform the library’s governance was approved by the State Senate by a vote of 59-1 on Friday. The measure was previously approved by unanimous vote of the Assembly, and Gov. Cuomo is expected to sign it into law.

The bill would allow Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who championed the measure, to replace trustees who have rebuffed her demands to open the library’s books to the City Controller’s office and to suspend Galante from his $392,000-a-year post.

“I don’t want to remove members just to remove them, but I need for them to do the right thing,” Katz said Friday. “Taxpayers need to know the money they are spending on a great library system is being spent properly.”

The de Blasio administration’s budget deal with the City Council, reached Thursday night, granted the city’s three library systems just $10 million in new funding, far less than the $65 million they were seeking in order to restore full, six-day service at all branches.

The FBI and the city’s Department of Investigation launched probes of the library’s construction contracts after the Daily News revealed questionable expenditures by Galante, including a renovation of his executive suite that added a $27,000 private smoking deck.

The mayor’s office offered more money if the libraries agreed to open their books, two sources involved in the talks told The News. But when Queens library officials refused to do so, the administration limited the budget increase to just $10 million.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

How did this differ from Tony's bill and - how important that those things he wanted will not be in the final bill?

Anonymous said...

In Albany, a bill to reform the library’s governance was approved by the State Senate by a vote of 59-1 on Friday.

Who voted against it?

ron s said...

Is it possible to stop funding them, dissolve the Board, and then re-open as a new organization? Clearly the current administration cannot survive w/o city funds, which is basically their whole income.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2, I'd like to know the answer to that as well.

Anonymous said...

Great now Melinda Katz can steal from the public! Or rather - steal more!

Anonymous said...

Is the FBI looking into money laundering?

Anonymous said...

ron s said...
Is it possible to stop funding them, dissolve the Board, and then re-open as a new organization? Clearly the current administration cannot survive w/o city funds, which is basically their whole income.

Sure but considering they are part of the political, cultural, and development elite of the borough do you think that is gonna happen?

Anonymous said...

According to the Queens Chronicle, "The lone nay was cast by outgoing Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson), who Gianaris said cast a few solo dissenting votes as his term has been winding down."