After news broke that Queens Library head Tom Galante had lavish renovations done to his offices despite budget cuts and employee consolidation, elected officials were quick to pounce.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), the chairman of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries, called an oversight hearing at which the library system’s budget and expenses will be combed through and each Council member will be able to ask questions of Queens Library representatives.
The hearing has been set for Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. and the public will be allowed to sign up to testify.
“I love the Queens Library and I am proud to be its biggest supporter,” Van Bramer said in a written statement. “I signed up for my first Library card at the Broadway Branch in Astoria 40 years ago. And I am proud to have worked for the Library for 11 years prior to my election in 2009. But stories of private outdoor patios and questionable spending deserve great scrutiny and they will get it.”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced that his office would conduct a full audit of the Queens Library and the Central Branch’s construction project that included an outdoor smoke deck, attache3d to Galante’s office.
In a fact sheet released by the Queens Library, the group assured that public funds were not used for the construction on Galante’s offices and that renovations made to his quarters were part of a larger project to redevelop the Central Branch.