Responding to the controversy that has enveloped the Queens Library since the end of January, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) on Wednesday introduced a package of six bills meant to strengthen the oversight of and increase the transparency of all three library systems in the city.
The legislation would require:
Responding to the controversy that has enveloped the Queens Library since the end of January, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) will on Wednesday introduce a package of six bills meant to strengthen the oversight of and increase the transparency of all three library systems in the city.
“I think this is what, quite honestly, I was always afraid of,” Borough President Melinda Katz told the Queens Chronicle last Friday. “There was no transparency, nobody had any idea what was going on — and that’s completely unacceptable for an institution that’s so much funded by the taxpayers.”
Katz was referring to documents newly provided to city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office, which show that the Queens Library under now-suspended President and CEO Tom Galante made what Stringer calls “a substantial number of questionable expenditures that may not be sufficiently related to the mission of the library.”
What the critics suspected turns out to be true: Documents newly provided to city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office show that the Queens Library under now-suspended President and CEO Tom Galante made what Stringer calls “a substantial number of questionable expenditures that may not be sufficiently related to the mission of the library.”
State Assemblyman Bill Scarborough (D-Jamaica) was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with felony grand larceny, filing false campaign documents and fraud.
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An alleged member of the Jamaica branch of the MS-13 gang has been indicted in federal court for the murder of a fellow gang member in Suffolk County this past February.
Byron Lopez, 23, was arraigned in Brooklyn on Aug. 28, according to a statement released by the office of Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Albert Baldeo, the Ozone Park political activist, former Democratic district leader and candidate for several elective offices, was found not guilty Monday of three counts of campaign-related fraud, but convicted of seven counts of obstructing justice. Baldeo, 54, said he is appealing the convictions.
Baldeo, who was then the Democratic district leader in the 38th Assembly District, was charged in October 2012 for allegations that he used straw donors to fund his campaign for a special election to the City Council in 2010. He previously had run for the Council in 2005 and the state Senate in 2006.
Albert Baldeo, the Ozone Park political activist, former Democratic district leader and candidate for several elected offices, was found not guilty Monday of three counts of campaign-related fraud but convicted of seven counts of obstructing justice. Baldeo said he is appealing the convictions.
While the death of Eric Garner in police custody is a tragedy that must be fully investigated to see if it warrants criminal charges or at least disciplinary action, it should not be exploited to stir up fear and division among city residents. Nor should it be used as an excuse to attack yet another of the Police Department’s most successful tactics. Yet that’s exactly what appears to be happening.
Garner died last Thursday in Staten Island while resisting arrest for allegedly selling illegal, single cigarettes. One of the several officers trying to take him into custody apparently used a chokehold, a violation of Police Department policy. An asthmatic, overweight man, Garner told the cops he couldn’t breathe, but they didn’t seem too concerned about that. Neither did the Emergency Medical Service personnel who responded. Garner died where he fell.
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A hastily called meeting of the Queens Library Board was hastily canceled last Thursday under pressure from some of the elected officials seeking to reform the embattled institution, led by Borough President Melinda Katz.
A faction of the divided board was plotting to work out a new deal with President and CEO Tom Galante in advance of tighter restrictions on their governing capabilities that were about to be signed into law by Gov. Cuomo. It is the same faction that recently voted, by a narrow majority, to continue defying City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s demands for all the library’s financial records for an audit he is conducting.
The cascading controversy surrounding the Queens Library is taking yet another turn today, as a majority of the institution's board members are plotting to work out a new deal with President and CEO Tom Galante in advance of new restrictions on their governing capabilities expected to take effect within the next few weeks.
A bill designed to reform the governing structure of the embattled Queens Library system and make its operations more transparent has passed both houses of the state Legislature with nearly unanimous support and needs only Gov. Cuomo’s signature to become law.
Authored by state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Assemblyman Jeff Aubry (D-Corona), along with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, the measure would impose a series of reforms on the Library Board of Trustees and subject the institution to the state Freedom of Information Law, allowing the public to examine most of its records, just like those of government agencies.
After a brief stall in the Senate, state lawmakers passed the Queens Library Reform Bill late Thursday night.
What began as criticism over one man’s relatively high salary and his institution’s decision to use less union labor as a cost-saving measure has now morphed into a full-blown crisis that threatens that institution’s very survival.
We are of course speaking about the Queens Library. And the fault lies almost exclusively with the library.
Continuing to defy the city comptroller and insisting on adhering to an agreement reached with one of his predecessors in 1997, the Queens Library again decided last Thursday to withhold documents that are being sought for an audit.
The library administration has refused the requests of Comptroller Scott Stringer to provide all financial records for the audit, which was prompted earlier this year by revelations about library spending and operations, brought to light primarily by the Daily News.
With one Queens politician being arrested last week and two more set to go on trial in federal court in June, one also is set to be freed from federal custody this month.
The New York Post reported this week that former state Sen. Shirley Huntley will be released from a halfway house at the end of May, 10 months into a 366-day prison sentence for corruption.
Continuing to defy the city comptroller and insisting on adhering to an agreement reached with one of his predecessors in 1997, the Queens Library again decided last night to withhold documents that are being sought for an audit.