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Queens Chronicle

Galante dominoes fall at Queens Library

Four vice presidents quit as fallout from crisis continues

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Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 11:27 am

Four top Queens Library officials resigned this week as the institution continues to reorganize following the ouster of its longtime president amid a financial and management scandal and criminal probe.

The four executives who quit, who all bore the title of vice president, are Darlene Askew-Robinson, the library’s general counsel; Lisa Epps, who handled information technology; Angelica Huynh-Rivera, the head of human resources; and Frank Genese, who oversaw capital projects.

Their resignations follow the Library Board’s firing of former President and CEO Tom Galante in December. Interim President Bridget Quinn-Carey has been leading the library since Galante was put on leave earlier last year by a board that had seen nearly half its members dismissed over their support for the embattled ex-president.

Library spending under Galante is the subject of a criminal probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and city Department of Investigation, as well as an audit by city Comptroller Scott Stringer. The crisis surrounding the library also led to a new state law increasing public oversight of its operations and allowing for a purge of pro-Galante, anti-audit board members last July and their replacement over time. All but two of the board’s 19 seats have been filled since then.

"Queens Library has entered into a new era,” Quinn-Carey said in a prepared statement. “We are creating a new culture of openness and transparency, while continuing the library's legacy of customer service. A change in direction often requires a change in administration; this was necessary in order for the library to move forward. 2015 will be a year of re-building and team building. Along with the Board, elected officials and other stakeholders, the people of Queens can look forward [to] the best Queens Library ever.”

Stringer, who as comptroller is an ex-officio member of the Library Board, praised the resignations in a prepared statement.

“I applaud Bridget Quinn-Carey for taking a big broom and doing a clean sweep at the Queens Library,” Stringer said. “Taxpayers deserve a management team who put the public’s interest first. I look forward to working with my fellow board trustees and the library’s new leadership as we restore the Queens Library to its rightful place as one of the nation’s premier public library systems.”

A spokesperson for Borough President Melinda Katz, who led the board purge last summer and partly crafted the state law that allowed it, told the Daily News: “The Queens Library is cleaning up shop. This is all part of moving in the right direction and restoring it back to a system the public can trust.”

The News misattributed the quote to Katz herself, her office noted in an email, adding that the paper said it would correct the error in its online edition.

Another high-ranking library official, Director of Government and Community Affairs Jennifer Manley, quit her position in December shortly after Galante was dismissed [Manley formerly was an editor with the Queens Chronicle].

The Daily News, whose coverage of library spending a year ago led to the criminal probe, city audit and new state law, also listed the alleged salaries of the officials who quit in a Friday article revealing the resignations. The library — a private, nonprofit organization that provides its services under contract with the city and receives about 90 percent of its funding from the public — does not release salary figures, its spokeswoman said when asked to confirm them.

According to the News, Askew-Robinson was making $194,000 a year; Epps $191,000; Huynh-Rivera $185,000; Genese $179,000; and Manley $150,000.

The paper described the four who quit this week as members of Galante’s inner circle. The ex-president had been making $392,000, or just about $450,000 with benefits included.

The library spokeswoman, Joanne King, could not comment on whether the vacant vice presidential positions would be refilled as they are or changed at all.

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1 comment:

  • FromQueens posted at 11:33 am on Tue, Jan 20, 2015.

    FromQueens Posts: 5

    Nice job in character assassination. So these indiduals are being presented to the world as having directly opposed openness at the Queens Library. They are being "swept away" like garbage. Previously, the fired trustees of the library, who served for over a decade, WITH NO PAY, we're labeled as irresponsible, hurtful to the public. Meanwhile, let's keep in mind that the investigations are not done, and nothing illegal has been found yet. What's really behind this witch hunt?