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City should assume Qns. Library building

An open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio:

As you know, the recent issues surrounding the capital construction process at Queens Library and the lack of transparency into the process are cause for great concern.

The city collectively, between mayoral, City Council and borough president capital discretionary funding, has given the Queens Library more than $144 million since fiscal year 2012. Rightfully so, the Queens Library system is a first-rate institution that provides invaluable educational and cultural opportunities for the residents of this borough.

But there is a troubling lack of oversight and understanding of the allocation of taxpayer funding. Elected officials and taxpayers do not have visibility into how these dollars have been or are projected to be spent renovating and maintaining Queens libraries.

In past budget years, Queens Library has been permitted by the city to use “pass through” contracts that enabled the library to engage in its own bidding process, retain its own vendors and seek reimbursement from the city. This practice, at best, enables the current problems the library is facing.

Therefore, I am requesting that until the issues with Queens Library are resolved and transparent, the city no longer authorize Queens Library to use pass through contracts. The city’s public bidding process, with its oversight, should assume responsibility for all Queens Library capital construction projects through the city Department of Design and Construction.

Following the city’s well-established procurement rules and policies will help to insure better accountability and transparency.

I appreciate your attention and cooperation in this matter.

Melinda Katz

Borough President

Queens

Kew Gardens

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