Tag Archives: contract

Queens Library board hires consultant to probe CEO’s salary, contract


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The Queens Library has hired an outside consultant to probe its embattled CEO’s whopping $392,000 salary and perks, the nonprofit’s top executives said Monday.

“We need to absorb the information we get from the study, as a board,” said Board of Trustees Chair Gabriel Taussig. “We’re committed to doing these things expeditiously and thoughtfully.”

The board is paying Hay Group $25,000 for a one-time review of Queens Library President and CEO Tom Galante’s entire compensation package and contract terms, officials said. The library boss is embroiled in news reports that claim he spent nearly $140,000 on a private smoking deck and office renovations.

The controversy also includes Galante’s $392,000 salary, $2 million severance package and $140,000 annual income from his side job consulting for the Elmont Union Free School District on Long Island.

Hay Group, a global management consulting firm hired last week, will size up Galante’s job against other comparable organization heads, which could lead to new contract negotiations, said Jacqueline Arrington, chair of the board’s administrative committee.

The firm has less than 90 days to report back with its findings and another 30 days after that to hammer out a new contract, library spokesperson Joanne King said.

“Whatever the end result is will be fair, reasonable, equitable and competitive,” said Galante, who declined to comment on whether he would take a pay cut.

The chief executive — when he wasn’t touting the library’s achievements — defended claims against him.

He reiterated his right as a “workaholic” to engage in outside employment, saying he sometimes puts in 125 total hours a week from both gigs. And he only consults as an “independent contractor, not an employee” from either Elmont or his home, he said.

Galante added his $2 million severance package is not considered a “golden parachute” and is only given to him if he is fired without wrongdoing.

The high exit payout is because of an “evergreen” clause in his five-year contract, amended in 2012, that allows it to be renewed automatically every year, Galante said.

The board plans to ax the clause in future contracts, according to Taussig, who would not confirm if that included Galante’s.

The consultation study is the first in a series of new measures the board plans to take to restore public trust and ease discontent amongst Queens lawmakers, board members said during a Feb. 25 sit-down meeting with several Queens reporters.

Since reports surfaced, State Senator Tony Avella has asked Galante to resign. Other state legislators and Borough President Melinda Katz say they are committed to getting a bill passed that would require financial disclosure from top library executives.

An audit committee within the Board of Trustees is underway, Arrington said. The board will decide if there should be more oversight into the hiring of top level executives, she added.

“I don’t want people to lose sight of what Queens Public Library has done for this borough,” Arrington said.

 

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Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Sex offender busted for ‘fondling’ young girls in Queens library

A registered sex offender has been arrested for allegedly fondling two young girls last month inside a Queens library. Joel Grubert, 49, was spotted on surveillance camera groping the victims, ages 6 and 9, at about 6:20 p.m. June 23 inside the Queens Library branch at 41-17 Main St. in Flushing, police said. Read more: NY Post

Con Edison, union resume talks Tuesday as NYC bakes

Contract talks between Consolidated Edison Inc and locked-out union workers ended on Saturday after a few hours with both sides agreeing to meet again on Tuesday as New York City baked in extreme heat. Con Ed spokesman Alfonso Quiroz confirmed negotiations between the company and the union had concluded and will resume Tuesday at noon. Read more: Reuters

Queens boxer Will Rosinsky has strong first round in fight against Kelly Pavlik but loses in unanimous decision

The way Queens boxer Will Rosinsky started his fight with Kelly Pavlik, darting in and out of danger, throwing and landing too many punches to count, was a total blur. It was a staggering pace, like a runner trying to sprint the length of a marathon. Rosinsky, who works as an EMT in East New York, fought the first round like a man possessed, dipping down, showing Pavlik angles, landing solid overhand rights, in close to Pavlik to blunt the taller man’s blows. Read more: Daily News

Off-duty cop busted for DWI after he crashed car in Queens

An off-duty cop was busted for DWI early today after he crashed his car in Queens, police said. Brayan Terrazas, 26, was collared after he slammed his vehicle into a concrete traffic median near Jackson Avenue and 43rd Avenue in Hunters Point just before 3 a.m., police said. Read more: NY Post

Con Ed worker arrested for alleged false leak report as lockout continues

Police in Westchester County arrested a Consolidated Edison worker Saturday for falsely reporting a gas leak as the utilities workers continue to be locked off the job. Police in Yonkers said the employee was arrested Saturday for reporting a nonexistent gas leak. Sources told NY1 that Con Ed customer service representative Lorraine Erikson was trying to sabotage the utility company when she made the false claims. Read more: NY1

 

Con Ed workers still locked out, talks to continue Thursday


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Con Ed

As temperatures spiked and residents across the city feared power outages, Con Edison locked out more than 8,000 workers over heated contract talks – leaving 5,000 management personnel responsible for maintaining electric, gas and steam service for the company’s 3.2 million customers.

The power giant blamed the stalemate on leaders of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 1-2 — the union representing roughly 8,000 Con Edison employees — who refused to accept its offer to extend their members’ contract for two weeks.

“[The workers] are fired up. They are just fired up,” said Local 1-2 spokesperson John Melia. “They are supporting union leadership in measures that haven’t been seen in years. We have 100 percent support.”

According to Melia, talks between the utility giant and union members were unable to progress. Tensions and tempers peaked at Con Ed’s decision to switch to a 401(k) plan rather than the current, $8 billion defined pension benefits plan – a decision based on an updated business model rather than an economic rationale, according to Melia.

In a side-by-side analysis of both plans, Melia said a retiree on Con Ed’s defined pension plan gets $2,000 a month, while the same person under a 401(k) receives $800 a month.

According to Melia, it takes about 15 years of training to advance through the ranks at Con Ed.

“It’s a lifetime commitment to the people of the city of New York,” said Melia.

The company said its proposal to extend the current contract remains on the table and if union leadership agreed to extend the present agreement, Con Ed would welcome its employees back immediately. Electricity executives allegedly offered to continue negotiations if each side agreed to give a week’s notice of a strike or work stoppage, which the union rejected.

Con Ed suspended meter reading in most areas and closed several walk-in centers due to the lockout.

According to Con Ed, the lockout occurred because of the lack of a contract, the possibility that the union might call a surprise strike, and the company’s fear that it could not assure customers reliable service.

“The system is holding up and everything is working well,” said Con Ed spokesperson Alfonso Quiroz in regards to the lockout occurring during a heat wave.

According to Melia, on Thursday, July 5, federal mediation services will assist with continued talks at a meeting between both parties.

Verizon workers rally for contract


| dbeltran@queenscourier.com

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Verizon workers, without a contract since last August, are sending a clear message: “Can you hear me now?”

Over 300 workers, including many Communications Workers of America union members, rallied in front of the Verizon telephone building in Jamaica and in front of a nearby Verizon Wireless store.

According to Amy Muldoon, employees are currently working under an extension of their last contract, but said bargaining negotiations for a new contract are going nowhere.

“We’re trying to bargain but there’s no movement,” said President Jerry Bulzomi of the C.W.A. Local 1106. “They want to take away our medical benefits, pension fund, anything that costs them money. We want to know why they’re trying to take it off on our backs.”

However, John Bonomo, a Verizon spokesperson, said that most of the landline workers don’t pay anything for health insurance premiums.

“The telecommunications business is undergoing huge changes and the new contract should reflect those changes,” said Bonomo. “We’re not the monopoly in the phone area anymore. People are going to the cable companies for some services.”

According to Verizon’s bargaining facts web site, the number of Verizon landlines has gone down fom 55 million in 2003 to 25 million in 2011.
At the rally, workers chanted, “no contract, no peace” and, “C.W.A., we won’t go away.” A few even stood outside the Verizon store handing out flyers informing people why they were rallying and asking people to consider a switch to AT&T, which they say supports union workers.

“This is not one contract,” said one worker. “We are fighting a corporate climate across the country. Don’t be afraid to fight for your contract.”

“We’re not going to apologize for being a successful business,” said Bonomo. “Being successful means we can provide jobs and competitive wages.

According to Muldoon, Verizon workers’ last contract lasted from 2009 to August of last year and they’re looking to preserve everything they bargained for.

Bulzomi, along with many other workers, said it comes down to corporate greed. Despite already having gone on strike last year, and only making small progress in negotiations, workers aren’t ready to give up.

“People struck for us to have protection,” said one worker. “I will not give that up without one hell of a fight.”

From St. John’s to stardom; J.Cole debut album is number one


| choahing@queenscourier.com

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Jay-Z signed him to his record label. He’s performed at Yankee Stadium. He was nominated for a BET Hip Hop Award. And his first album just debuted at number one.

Who is this hot new rap artist? It’s St. John’s University graduate J. Cole.

Jermaine Cole, 26, was born in Frankfurt, Germany, where his parents were stationed in the military, but he grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. When he was 12-years-old, Cole decided he wanted to be a professional rapper – like his idols Canibus, Eminem and Nas – and began writing his own lyrics. After graduating from high school in 2003, Cole headed to the Big Apple determined to achieve his goals of breaking into the music business and earning his college degree.

“On top of being a real fun major, it made me conscious of public relations, your brand and how you’re represented to the public,” Cole explained about what he learned at St. John’s. “When I have interviews or when I’m in the public light, I’m handling myself differently than another rapper might.”

After graduation, Cole worked part-time doing classified ad sales for The Queens Courier.

“It was the only job I could find that was real flexible with the hours so I could go to the [recording] studio and be up real late and then go in to work at, like, 1,” Cole recalled.

The majority of his time, however, was spent working on songs and trying to make connections with the right music biz insiders. He would look online for the names of A&R reps, producers, managers and other notable people and then cold call them.

“It took years and years of trying,” said Cole. “I was rapping on people’s voicemails. If I knew somebody was in the game, I would send a message…. It never worked, but these were the things I was trying.”

So, just how did Cole become the first hip-artist to land a deal with Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation?

“It was a very long story, but the condensed version is: I finally broke through when I met Mark Pitts, a real heavyweight in the game, who managed Biggie back in the day and signed Chris Brown and Ciara. He heard my music and loved it, and ended up playing a song called ‘Lights Please’ for Jay-Z. From there, the rest is history. Jay wanted to sign me after he met me.”

The contract was inked in February 2009.

Although he’s released several mix tapes, Cole World: The Sideline Story is the rapper’s debut full-length CD.

“Musically, it’s incredible,” Cole said. “I can’t wait for people to hear it! It’s real heavy and real emotional – family issues, life struggles, death, jail. I love that, but there’s a balance. It’s not an album where you have to be in a certain type of mood to listen to it.”

“Last year, I was on a tour with Jay-Z and shared a little bus with Wale,” said Cole. “This is the first time it’s actually my tour.”

But it was back in last September that Cole played the largest venue – so far – of his career: Yankees Stadium.

“It was crazy to be on that stage, but even better than being on that stage was just watching that,” he said about the historic two-night concert event headlined by Jay-Z and Eminem in which he served as one of the opening acts. “That was incredible. Rock artists sell out stadiums every night, but it takes two of the biggest hip-hop artists to fill up a stadium. It’s inspirational! When I really put it in perspective, it gave me a new goal. My new goal is to be the first rapper selling out stadiums on a regular basis. Even saying that lets me know how far I got to go. But how incredible would that be?”