As reported by other news outlets, Elmont Library Business Consultant Frank Marino’s possible ties to Thomas Galante, Queens Library director, are under investigation.
The investigation is exploring whether Marino and his Merrick-based contract-handling firm, Advanced Consulting Corporation, has any personal ties to Galante — whose spending over the past three years is being examined by the FBI and the city’s Department of Investigation after reports surfaced that he, Galante, may have used money that was designated for library improvements, for renovations to his own personal office. Reports indicate that Galante has directed 15 Queens Library improvement projects to Marino’s firm since 2008. The possibility of personal ties stems from the fact that both Galante and Marino have professional ties to Elmont — the former to its school district and the latter to its library.
According to reports, Galante’s salary has also come under scrutiny in addition to his spending being investigated — he oversees the 62 libraries in the system and is paid a reported $400,000 annually for his work as director at Queens Library and as a consultant with the EUFSD.
Other news outlets have reported that a spokeswoman for the Queens Library has said that Marino — who handles the contracts and negotiations for the Elmont Library with outside agencies — was chosen to handle the 15 improvements projects for Queens Library strictly through a regular bidding process. Since the investigation, there have not been any indications from any report that Marino has done anything illegal.
Elmont Library Director Dr. Roger Podell, whom Board President Monique Hardial told the Herald would comment on the investigation on behalf of the board, expressed support for Marino.
“The Elmont Library Board of Trustees and the director support Frank Marino and appreciate the tens of thousands of dollars he has saved the taxpayers of Elmont through cost effective construction and building maintenance,” Podell said. “Frank has worked as a consultant in Elmont for many years and served numerous library boards. We value Frank Marino as our consultant and find it unfortunate that he is subjected to scrutiny for not waste, but for his diligence in providing cost effectiveness and savings.”
Board Vice President Pat Nicolosi echoed similar sentiments.
“Knowing Frank as long as I know him, we get our moneys worth,” he said. “Before jumping the gun, compare what other library systems are doing. This whole nonsense, in my opinion, is being done against good people who know how to do a job cheaper, better, on time and save the taxpayers millions. This idea works well in the private sector but it’s bad for the public sector. People higher up in the public sector don’t like good things pointed out especially if someone can save time and money.”
Marino did not comment about the investigation.