Queens Borough President Melinda Katz today announced she has sent a letter to members of the Board of Trustees of the Queens Library that includes her recommendations about what steps they should take to improve the Library’s governance and oversight.
The Borough President sent the letter, dated February 18, after conducting a thorough review that included discussions with members of the Board of Trustees and an examination of the Board’s meeting minutes, bylaws, policies and other pertinent information. This review was prompted by recent newspaper disclosures about the salary, benefits and perks awarded to the Queens Library’s chief executive and about the renovations recently done to his office space.
The Borough President’s letter recommends the Board taking the following steps at its meeting on Thursday, February 20.
1. Establish a fixed term of employment for the library’s chief executive, with a fixed start and end date
2. Engage an outside consultant with the requisite expertise to conduct and complete a comprehensive executive compensation study within 90 days. The study will include a review of acceptable fringe benefits, including car allowances, tuition reimbursements, etc.
3. Appropriately limit the type and extent of outside employment the chief executive and any key Library personnel may engage in and require both approval of and strict reporting to the Board of all outside earned employment
The letter also states that the Borough President expects the Board will, in a timely fashion, change its operating
procedures to include a set of seven best practices aimed at ensuring transparency and adequate internal controls. Several of the best practices recommended by the Borough President are already required by the recently enacted Nonprofit Revitalization Act.
The letter concludes by stating the Borough President is working with Assembly member Jeffrion Aubry to introduce legislation that would codify many of the changes recommended in her letter into state law.
“It is only through these reforms that I believe the Queens Library can gain back the trust and respect of the public and all the stakeholders who wish to return it once again to its place as the premier institution of our borough,” the Borough President wrote.