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Queens Library trustees fight against Borough President power grab

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz
k.clements, clements communications inc.

The six trustees of the Queens Library filed a lawsuit against Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to block their recent removal from the Board. Katz recently served six trustees from the Queens Library with removal letters for their failure to act to remove the Executive Director of the Queens Library, Thomas Galante. Galante reportedly receives a six figure salary along with large stipend for his work as a consultant. It is reported that he recently remodeled his office to include several luxuries.

“Over the past six months, there have been troubling revelations about the management of Queens Borough Public Library,” said the letter served by BP Katz.

The letter specified that the removal was based on BP Katz’s being an appointing authority for the QBPL Board of Trustees. Section 3 of Chapter 164 of the laws of 1907 grants her the right of removal if she feels a trustee has failed or refused to carry into effect the educational purpose of the QBPL.

The following trustees were removed by BP Katz: Joseph Ficalora, Jacqueline Arrington, William Jefferson, Grace Lawrence, Terri Mangino and George Stamatiades.

The complaint claimed a “brazen and unconstitutional power grab by the Queens Borough President with the aid of the State Legislature to transform the QBPL.

The complaint cited the same laws of 1907 which granted the power to administer the library system to independent Trustees. It claimed BP is “taking control of the Library for political use.”

The Queens Library has one of the largest circulations and the most diverse population of U.S. Libraries. It has currently partnered with the City of New York in their free meal program. The library was recently the recipient of donated Google tablets which it lends to cardholders and has expanded its lending library to include eMagazines.