Borough President Melinda Katz has appointed Robert Santos to the board of trustees of the Queens Library. The announcement comes after she ousted six trustees members last month and Mayor Bill de Blasio cut loose two board members.
The sacked trustees attempted to regain their position in an appeal that was ultimately denied by Katz. The appointment of Santos was announced on Tuesday.
“It is an honor to serve on the Board of the Queens Library and to join other involved and committed citizens dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the Queens Library system,” Santos said. “Nothing is more important to the health of a community and the intellectual capital of its people than a public library, and the Queens Library is one of the best public libraries in the nation.”
According to earlier reports by the Courier, the firings came after a drawn out legal battle over the tenure of Library Director Tom Galante, who was criticized after a smoking deck was built outside his office in the Central Library in Jamaica. It was also revealed that he supplemented his city salary of $400,000 with more than $200,000 in part-time pay from the Elmont, Long Island school district.
Dougals Grover, who represents the six removed trustees, said that Katz’s move is “unconstitutional” and threatens the independence of the Queens library.
Santos is a Sunnyside resident, according to the announcement. He was the Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of The New York Public Library and also worked as Chief Administrative Officer at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. He has also held several positions in the city’s government.