January 28, 2014

Queens Library president’s salary and fancy office revealed… while 130 jobs disappear


"Enrich your life," eh?

“Enrich your life,” eh?

The New York Daily News is having a field day with Queens Library President Thomas Galante. Yesterday they broke the news that Galante made $391,594 last year — more than the mayor or the head of the MTA—and his job perks included a sports car and a decadent office renovation that cost about $140,000.

Under Galante, Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News says one hundred and thirty jobs have disappeared in the last five years. Clerks and custodians at the library make about $39,000 each year, and senior librarians earn $55,000. Their last raise was four years ago, according to Complex.

“They haven’t hired a new full-time person to serve the public since 2008, yet they find money for all this stuff?” the president of the Queens Library Guild, John Hyslop, said the Daily News.

According to the report, the renovations were all part of Jamaica library’s “master plan,” including:

– A 250-square-foot rooftop deck adjacent to Galante’s office for use as his private smoking area. Built with teak tile, furnished with wrought-iron furniture, and surrounded by two dozen evergreens that shield it from onlookers, the deck’s tab alone was more than $27,000.

– Two new executive conference rooms, one of which looks more like a private lounge area, featuring sparkling wood floors, a half-dozen leather sofas and chairs, a stylish drop ceiling, and a giant flat-screen television. Cost: more than $110,000.

– A paint job for his existing personal bathroom and shower.

All this came courtesy of you, the taxpayer.

Around noon yesterday, the library released a message to its visitors:


• Compensation for the President/CEO of Queens Library was set by the Board of Trustees ten (10) years ago after careful consideration, based on a market study for comparable non-profit CEO positions in the NYC area.
• Under Mr. Galante’s leadership, over $300 million for library renovations and $40 million of private funding has been secured to improve library services.
• Queens Library is recognized as one of the best public library systems in the world; in fact, it won several national awards as the best library in the United States, under Mr. Galante’s leadership.


• The Central Library in Jamaica is undergoing a $20 million modernization of a 50 year old building that includes upgrade of all customer service areas and central office departments and administrative spaces that manage the 62 libraries in the borough.
• The entire building is being modernized, all public areas, all central offices, including the administrative offices too.
• The President’s private office area was reduced in size, to provide for administrative conference areas.

•  The added conference areas were added since other conference rooms were being repurposed to bring fund raising and capital department offices back to the Central Library (second floor) to eliminate $150,000 in annual rental costs across the street.
•  The exterior deck was simply a way to add more conference area to the building at a very low cost by utilizing the roof.
• The cost for administrative office renovation is the same cost per square foot as other offices and less than the cost of public service areas.
• In total, 2,800 square feet of executive office space were renovated at a cost of $88,000 for construction ($31.43 per sq. ft.).
• Furniture and equipment totaled $29,000 ($10.38 per sq. ft.) for the administrative offices.   Also significantly below industry average and what the library usually expends in other construction.

Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.