Relates to the incorporation of the Queens Borough Public Library, including membership and duties of the board of trustees and the oversight of the executive director and key library executive personnel.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend chapter 164 of the laws of 1907 relating to the incorporation of the Queens Borough Public Library, in relation to the membership and duties of the board of trustees and the oversight of the executive director and key library executive personnel; to amend the New York City Charter, in relation to public libraries; and to amend the public officers law, in relation to the definition of agency
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This bill will make necessary changes to the executive functioning of the Queens Borough Public Library including long overdue changes that will make the functioning of this largely public institution more transparent and accountable to the citizens that it serves and who fund its operations. The bill will also bring the Queens Borough Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library and the New York Public Library within the jurisdiction of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Law and make explicit that each of these entities are subject to the state and city Freedom of Information Laws.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill amends section 1 of chapter 164 of the laws of 1907 relating to the incorporation of the Queens Borough Public Library, as amended by chapter 495 of the laws of 1980, by adding a new § 1.b. that will require a new board of trustees to be named on January 1, 2015, provided that on or after such date, the number of trustees shall be reduced to eleven.
Section two of the bill amends section 3 of chapter 164 of the laws of 1907 relating to the incorporation of the Queens Borough Public Library, as amended by chapter 561 of the laws of 2002, by adding the following new provisions:
*the term for trustees appointed on or after January 1, 2015 shall be two years *allows ex-officio members to designate a representative to serve ex-officio in their place *the Queens Borough President shall appoint six trustees and the Mayor shall appoint five trustees and each must notify the other appointing party of who was appointed *trustees must be either a resident of Queens or own or operate a business in Queens, have at least one trustee must be a certified public accountant, at least one trustee must be a district manager of one of the community boards in the borough of Queens, at least one trustee must be a chair of one of the community boards in the borough of Queens, at least two trustees must be persons who hold a master's degree in library science or library and information studies from an accredited college or university program *The appointing parties shall be authorized to recommend to the board of trustees removal of a trustee whom such party appointed, if in accordance with the by-laws adopted by the corporation, there is reasonable cause for such removal. However, such recommendation must be agreed upon by the other appointing party prior to any action being taken by the board of trustees
*The board of trustees may recommend removal of a trustee, if in accordance with the by-laws adopted by the corporation, there is reasonable cause for such removal *Within 10 days after a recommendation for removal of a trustee is made by the board or an agreed upon recommendation for removal by the appointing parties is received by the board, the trustee subject to a recommendation of removal shall be given notice and an opportunity to appeal the recommendation for removal in writing to the board of trustees within 5 days of receipt of such notice. The board shall consider the written appeal and make a final decision within 5 days of receipt of such appeal and prior to any final action by the board on its on its own recommendation for removal or the agreed upon recommendation for removal by the appointing parties
Section three of the bill amends chapter 164 of the laws of 1907 relating to the incorporation of the Queens Borough Public Library by adding the following new sections:
*§ 3-a.a. Requires that the trustees hold an annual public budget hearing, provide a thirty day public comment period prior to the budget's adoption and shall report all public and private revenue sources of funding for the budget *§ 3-a.b. Provides specific provisions regarding how the public budget hearing must be conducted and how notice must be provided to the public in advance of the hearing *§ 4-a.a. Requires that the executive director and key library personnel shall comply with financial disclosure requirements when federal, state, county, town, village or city money is used to fund staff salaries. The financial disclosure must be reported to the New York city conflict of interest board *§ 4-a.b. Requires that the board of trustees adopt by-laws that limit the type and extent of employment of the executive director and any key library executive personnel may engage in outside their position with the library and shall prohibit outside employment for any executive director and key library executive personnel who receives a salary In excess of $150,000. Furthermore, the executive director and key library executive personnel must report any outside employment and such employment must be approved by the board. *§ 4-a.c. Requires that the board of trustees adopt by-laws regarding the approval for hiring and establishing policies for the compensation of key library executive personnel *§ 9-b.a. Requires the board to appoint an audit committee to oversee the library's accounting and financial report processes and annual audits and all annual audits shall be published in a report and made available on the library's website *§ 9-b.b. Requires the board to appoint an executive committee comprised of a cross-section of the board of trustees and the board of trustees shall abolish the administrative committee whose essential functions shall be transferred to the executive committee *§ 9-b.c. Requires the board to appoint a labor committee to address labor issues and oversee contracting out of services *§ 9-c. Requires the board to establish by-laws that prohibit a person with a conflict of interest from participating in any deliberations or voting on the matter giving rise to the conflict and existence of the conflict must be brought to attention of board of trustees or audit committee and documented in the minutes of the meeting at which such conflict was discussed
Section four of the bill requires the board of trustees of Queens Borough Public Library to engage an outside consultant to conduct and complete a comprehensive executive compensation study within ninety days including a review of acceptable fringe benefits, including car allowances and tuition reimbursements.
Sections five and six of the bill amend subdivisions 2 and 19, respectively, of section 2601 of the New York City Charter, as added by a vote of the people of the city of New York at the general election held in November of 1988, by removing the exclusion of a public library from the definition of agency and amending the definition of "public servant" to include executive directors and key library executive personnel of the Queens Borough Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library and the New York Public Library.
Section seven of the bill amends subdivision 3 of section 86 of the public officers law, as added by chapter 933 of the laws of 1977, by adding a new subdivision 3.b. to include the Queens Borough Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library and the New York Public Library within the definition of agency thereby explicitly making these public library entities subject to the freedom of information law provisions in state and city law.
Section eight of the bill sets forth an immediate effective date.
As a result of the recent discovery of an excessive annual salary, questionable outside employment and outrageous office renovations by the Executive Director of the Queens Borough Public Library it is readily apparent that much needed reform is required to strengthen oversight and promote transparency within this fundamentally public institution that receives tremendous amounts of public money from federal, state and city governments.*
This legislation will take extensive steps in reforming the current law governing Queens Borough Public Library, as described above, in order to ensure that this institution is functioning in a way that is transparent and accountable to the citizens that it serves and who fund its operations.
The legislation will also make all three major public libraries in the city of New York, including the Queens Borough Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library and the New York Public Library subject to the city's Conflict of interest law and the state and city Freedom of Information laws. This additional piece of the legislation is not meant to be punitive to any of these important organizations. instead it is meant to recognize the major sources of public funding these entities enjoy and the resulting obligation that they too be subject to the same ethics and freedom of information requirements as all other quasi-public agencies who must comply with these important laws.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
This act shall take effect immediately.
* According to the Queens Borough Public Library's annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, the library received $5.1 million from the federal government, in addition to $88.8 million from the City of New York and $9.2 million from the State of New York.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7015 IN SENATE April 14, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Cities AN ACT to amend chapter 164 of the laws of 1907 relating to the incorpo- ration of the Queens Borough Public Library, in relation to the membership and duties of the board of trustees and the oversight of the executive director and key library executive personnel; to amend the New York City Charter, in relation to public libraries; and to amend the public officers law, in relation to the definition of agency THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 1 of chapter 164 of the laws of 1907 relating to the incorporation of the Queens Borough Public Library, as amended by chapter 495 of the laws of 1980, is amended to read as follows: Section 1. A. The following persons, to wit: The mayor, comptroller and president of the city council of the city of New York and the presi- dent of the borough of Queens, by virtue of their offices, and fifteen additional persons who, at the date of the passage of this act, shall constitute the board of trustees of the "Queens Borough Library," a corporation incorporated by the regents of the university of the state of New York on March nineteen, eighteen hundred
[and]ninety-six, as amended December twenty-one, eighteen hundred [and]ninety-nine, under the provisions of the laws of eighteen hundred [and]ninety-two, chapter three hundred [and]seventy-eight, as amended by the laws of eighteen hundred [and]ninety-five, chapter eight hundred [and]fifty-nine, are hereby constituted a body politic and corporate under and by the name of "The Queens Borough Public Library," for the purpose of constructing and maintaining libraries and a free public library system in the borough of Queens in the city of New York. B. ON JANUARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN, A NEW BOARD OF TRUSTEES SHALL BE NAMED, PROVIDED THAT ON OR AFTER SUCH DATE, THE NUMBER OF TRUS- TEES SHALL BE REDUCED TO ELEVEN. S 2. Section 3 of chapter 164 of the laws of 1907 relating to the incorporation of the Queens Borough Public Library, as amended by chap- ter 561 of the laws of 2002, is amended to read as follows: S 3. The corporation shall organize by the adoption of by-laws and the election of officers. The by-laws shall provide for the terms of office of the trustees of the corporation, not to exceed the period of fiveEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14637-05-4 S. 7015 2
years, PROVIDED, THAT TRUSTEES APPOINTED ON OR AFTER JANUARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN SHALL BE APPOINTED FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS, excepting that the mayor, comptroller, public advocate and speaker of the city council of the city of New York and the president of the borough of Queens, shall at all times be members of the board ex-officio AND SUCH EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS MAY DESIGNATE A REPRESENTATIVE TO SERVE EX-OFFICIO IN HIS OR HER PLACE. The trustees shall hereafter be chosen and vacancies occurring in such office filled by an appointment which shall alternate between the mayor of the city of New York and the president of the
[Borough]BOROUGH of Queens SUCH THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOROUGH OF QUEENS SHALL APPOINT SIX TRUSTEES AND THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK SHALL APPOINT FIVE TRUSTEES; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT TRUSTEES MUST BE EITHER A RESIDENT OF QUEENS OR OWN OR OPERATE A BUSINESS IN QUEENS; AND PROVIDED FURTHER THAT AT LEAST ONE TRUSTEE MUST BE A CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT, ONE TRUSTEE MUST BE A DISTRICT MANAGER OF ONE OF THE COMMU- NITY BOARDS IN THE BOROUGH OF QUEENS, ONE TRUSTEE MUST BE A CHAIR OF ONE OF THE COMMUNITY BOARDS IN THE BOROUGH OF QUEENS, AND TWO TRUSTEES MUST BE PERSONS WHO HOLD A MASTER'S DEGREE IN LIBRARY SCIENCE OR LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES FROM AN ACCREDITED COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY PROGRAM; AND PROVIDED FURTHER THAT THE APPOINTING PARTIES SHALL NOTIFY THE OTHER APPOINTING PARTY OF WHO WAS APPOINTED. THE APPOINTING PARTIES SHALL BE AUTHORIZED TO RECOMMEND TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES REMOVAL OF A TRUSTEE WHOM SUCH PARTY APPOINTED IF, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BY-LAWS ADOPTED BY THE CORPORATION, THERE IS REASONABLE CAUSE FOR SUCH REMOVAL. HOWEVER, SUCH RECOMMENDATION MUST BE AGREED UPON BY THE OTHER APPOINTING PARTY PRIOR TO ANY ACTION BEING TAKEN BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES MAY RECOMMEND REMOVAL OF A TRUSTEE, IF IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BY-LAWS ADOPTED BY THE CORPORATION, THERE IS REASONABLE CAUSE FOR SUCH REMOVAL. WITHIN TEN DAYS AFTER A RECOMMENDATION FOR REMOVAL OF A TRUS- TEE IS MADE BY THE BOARD OR AN AGREED UPON RECOMMENDATION FOR REMOVAL BY THE APPOINTING PARTIES IS RECEIVED BY THE BOARD, THE TRUSTEE SUBJECT TO A RECOMMENDATION OF REMOVAL SHALL BE GIVEN NOTICE AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAL THE RECOMMENDATION FOR REMOVAL IN WRITING TO THE BOARD OF TRUS- TEES WITHIN FIVE DAYS OF RECEIPT OF SUCH NOTICE. THE BOARD SHALL CONSID- ER THE WRITTEN APPEAL AND MAKE A FINAL DECISION WITHIN FIVE DAYS OF RECEIPT OF SUCH APPEAL AND PRIOR TO ANY FINAL ACTION BY THE BOARD ON ITS OWN RECOMMENDATION FOR REMOVAL OR THE AGREED UPON RECOMMENDATION FOR REMOVAL BY THE APPOINTING PARTIES. The corporation shall have power from time to time to make such rules and regulations as the trustees thereof shall judge proper for the accomplishment of the objects of the corporation, for the election of officers, for prescribing their respec- tive functions and the mode of discharging the same, for imposing and collecting dues, fines and contributions, for regulating the times and places of meetings, and generally for the management and direction of the affairs and concerns of the said corporation. The trustees shall have absolute control of the expenditure of all moneys appropriated by the city of New York for the maintenance of libraries conducted, or to be conducted by the corporation in the borough of Queens, and shall have the power to appoint and fix the salaries of such officers and employees as they shall deem necessary, who, unless employed under special contract, shall hold their offices during the pleasure of the trustees, but no trustee shall receive compensation as such, and the authority of the trustees to so make and regulate expenditures for maintenance, and their right to select, employ, fix salaries and discharge employees, shall be absolute under this act, any acts of the legislature of the state of New York to the contrary notwithstanding.S. 7015 3
S 3. Chapter 164 of the laws of 1907 relating to the incorporation of the Queens Borough Public Library is amended by adding four new sections 3-a, 4-a, 9-b, and 9-c to read as follows: S 3-A. A. THE TRUSTEES SHALL HOLD ANNUAL PUBLIC BUDGET HEARINGS, PROVIDE A THIRTY DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD PRIOR TO ADOPTION OF THE BUDGET AND SHALL REPORT ALL REVENUE SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR THE BUDGET, BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE. B. THE TESTIMONY PRESENTED AT SUCH PUBLIC BUDGET HEARING MAY BE PRESENTED IN WRITING OR ORALLY, PROVIDED THAT THE TRUSTEES MAY MAKE RULES DESIGNED TO EXCLUDE REPETITIVE, REDUNDANT OR IRRELEVANT TESTIMONY. THE TRUSTEES SHALL MAKE A RECORD OF ALL TESTIMONY AT THE PUBLIC BUDGET HEARINGS. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION "PUBLIC BUDGET HEARING" MEANS A PUBLIC FORUM AT A PHYSICAL LOCATION, ATTENDED BY TRUSTEES AND THE LIBRARY'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OR THEIR DESIGNEES, WHERE ORAL TESTIMONY IS ACCEPTED AND WRITTEN TESTIMONY MAY BE SUBMITTED FOR INCLUSION IN THE RECORD. SUCH FORUM SHALL BE OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC FOR THE PRESENTA- TION OF COMMENTS. SUCH HEARING SHALL BE COMMENCED UPON PROPER NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC AT LEAST THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO THE SCHEDULED HEARING DATE. NOTICE OF THE PUBLIC BUDGET HEARING SHALL BE PROVIDED ON THE LIBRARY'S WEBSITE, ON FLIERS POSTED INSIDE THE LIBRARY'S MAIN LOCATION AND IN EACH OF ITS BRANCH LOCATIONS, AND IN ANY OTHER ALTERNATIVE MANNER CHOSEN BY THE TRUSTEES. S 4-A. A. THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND KEY LIBRARY EXECUTIVE PERSONNEL SHALL COMPLY WITH FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS WHEN PUBLIC MONEY IS USED TO FUND STAFF SALARIES. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "PUBLIC MONEY" SHALL MEAN MONEY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OR STATE OR COUNTY OR A TOWN, VILLAGE, OR CITY. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES SHALL ADOPT BY-LAWS REQUIRING MANDATORY ANNUAL FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND OTHER KEY LIBRARY EXECUTIVE PERSONNEL THAT SHALL BE REPORTED TO THE NEW YORK CITY CONFLICT OF INTEREST BOARD AS SET FORTH IN CLAUSE 7 OF SUBPARAGRAPH A OF PARAGRAPH 3 OF SUBDIVISION B OF SECTION 12-110 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK. B. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES SHALL ADOPT BY-LAWS LIMITING THE TYPE AND EXTENT OF EMPLOYMENT THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND ANY KEY LIBRARY EXECU- TIVE PERSONNEL MAY ENGAGE IN OTHER THAN HIS OR HER EMPLOYMENT WITH THE LIBRARY AND SHALL PROHIBIT OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT FOR ANY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND ANY KEY LIBRARY EXECUTIVE PERSONNEL WHO RECEIVES A STAFF SALARY IN EXCESS OF ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. SUCH BY-LAWS SHALL REQUIRE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND THE KEY LIBRARY EXECUTIVE PERSONNEL TO REPORT ANY EMPLOYMENT OTHER THAN HIS OR HER EMPLOYMENT WITH THE LIBRARY TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND SHALL REQUIRE THE BOARD TO APPROVE SUCH EMPLOY- MENT. C. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES SHALL ADOPT BY-LAWS REGARDING THE APPROVAL FOR HIRING AND ESTABLISHING POLICIES FOR THE COMPENSATION OF KEY LIBRARY EXECUTIVE PERSONNEL. S 9-B. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES SHALL APPOINT: A. AN AUDIT COMMITTEE WHICH SHALL OVERSEE THE LIBRARY'S ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL REPORTING PROCESSES AND ANNUAL AUDITS. THE AUDIT COMMITTEE SHALL RETAIN AN AUDITOR, REVIEW THE SCOPE AND PLANNING OF ALL AUDITS WITH THE AUDITOR AND REVIEW AND DISCUSS THE RESULTS. THE AUDIT COMMITTEE SHALL CONSIDER THE AUDITOR'S PERFORMANCE AND INDEPENDENCE AND REPORT ANNUALLY ON THE AUDITOR'S ACTIVITIES TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES; ALL ANNU- AL AUDITS SHALL BE PUBLISHED IN A REPORT AND MADE AVAILABLE ON THE LIBRARY WEBSITE; B. AN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WHICH SHALL BE COMPRISED OF A REPRESENTATIVE CROSS-SECTION OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES SHALLS. 7015 4
ABOLISH THE ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE AND ANY ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS OR DUTIES OF SUCH COMMITTEE SHALL BE TRANSFERRED TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMIT- TEE; AND C. A LABOR RELATIONS COMMITTEE TO ADDRESS LABOR ISSUES AND OVERSEE THE CONTRACTING OUT OF SERVICES. S 9-C. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES SHALL ESTABLISH BY-LAWS PROHIBITING A PERSON WITH A CONFLICT OF INTEREST FROM PARTICIPATING IN ANY DELIBER- ATIONS OR VOTING ON THE MATTER GIVING RISE TO THE CONFLICT. THE BY-LAWS SHALL ALSO PROHIBIT THE PERSON WITH THE CONFLICT FROM IMPROPERLY INFLU- ENCING THE DELIBERATION OR VOTING ON SUCH MATTER. ANY CONFLICTS OF INTEREST BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OR THE AUDIT COMMITTEE AND SHALL BE DOCUMENTED IN THE MINUTES OF ANY MEETING AT WHICH SUCH CONFLICT WAS DISCUSSED. S 4. The board of trustees of the Queens Borough Public Library shall engage an outside consultant with the requisite expertise to conduct and complete a comprehensive executive compensation study within ninety days of the date this act shall have become a law. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, a review of acceptable fringe benefits, including car allowances and tuition reimbursements. S 5. Subdivision 2 of section 2601 of the New York City Charter, as added by a vote of the people of the city of New York at the general election held in November of 1988, is amended to read as follows: 2. "Agency" means a city, county, borough or other office, position, administration, department, division, bureau, board, commission, author- ity, corporation, advisory committee or other agency of government, the expenses of which are paid in whole or in part from the city treasury, and shall include but not be limited to, the council, the offices of each elected official, the board of education, community school boards, community boards, the financial services corporation, the health and hospitals corporation, the public development corporation, and the New York city housing authority, but shall not include any court or any corporation or institution maintaining or operating a
[public library,]museum, botanical garden, arboretum, tomb, memorial building, aquarium, zoological garden or similar facility. S 6. Subdivision 19 of section 2601 of the New York City Charter, as added by a vote of the people of the city of New York at the general election held in November of 1988, is amended to read as follows: 19. "Public servant" means all officials, officers and employees of the city, including members of community boards [and], members of advi- sory committees, except unpaid members of advisory committees [shall not be public servants], AND ALL EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS AND KEY LIBRARY EXECU- TIVE PERSONNEL FROM THE QUEENS BOROUGH PUBLIC LIBRARY, THE BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY AND THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY. S 7. Subdivision 3 of section 86 of the public officers law, as added by chapter 933 of the laws of 1977, is amended to read as follows: 3. "Agency" means: A. any state or municipal department, board, bureau, division, commis- sion, committee, public authority, public corporation, council, office or other governmental entity performing a governmental or proprietary function for the state or any one or more municipalities thereof, except the judiciary or the state legislature [.]; AND B. THE QUEENS BOROUGH PUBLIC LIBRARY, THE BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY AND THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY. S 8. This act shall take effect immediately.