August 18, 2015 Last week, there was the rally in Spring Valley’s Memorial Park with parents calling for the removal of Bernard Charles from the East Ramapo School Board. Then a video showing wife Brendel hurling profanities at some of the good citizens of the Town, another video of Bernard threatening some of the locals, and a clip of his aggressive response when he was served with the lawsuit papers naming him with the other school board members for the profligate legal fees. And now, with a press release today from Town Councilman Daniel Friedman, there’s a call for Bernard’s removal as Ramapo’s Recreation Activities Coordinator. Friedman’s reasons are a virtual grab-bag of what’s wrong with Ramapo politics—they include nepotism, incompetence, lousy test scores, improper behavior, malfeasance, and not showing up for work. Daniel wants an up-or-down vote at this Thursday’s Town Board meeting.Councilman Friedman’s Press Release today explains the details:
“In the wake of stunning information from the Rockland County Department of Personnel, Ramapo Councilman Daniel Friedman has called for Supervisor St. Lawrence to replace Bernard Charles, the husband of his running mate Councilwoman Brendel Logan-Charles, as the Recreation Activities Coordinator for the Town of Ramapo.
The Councilwoman’s husband was hired as a provisional employee in 2014, and his continued employment, according to the agreement reached between Supervisor St. Lawrence and the Town Board, would be based on his civil service test scores. The Rockland County Department of Personnel, in a Freedom of Information Request, released this information about Bernard Charles:
‘Mr. Bernard Charles took these 2 exams:
Recreation Activities Coordinator (OC) Exam # 65-326, exam date February 4,2012 – he failed this exam.
Recreation Facility Supervisor (OC) exam # 66-094, exam date May 03, 2014– his score is 75.00 and he ranked 45th.’
“I am not sure what is more appalling – that he did so poorly on these tests, or that his wife, together with Supervisor St. Lawrence, hid these test results from the Town Board and kept him in his job,” said Councilman Friedman. “There have been serious issues since the first day he started, and I have called time and again for his removal for improper behavior, malfeasance, and simply not showing up to work.
This is certainly the final straw, and it is time for him to go.”
In an interview with Baruch Horowitz posted on Monsey.com, Friedman elaborated: “Civil service exams were created to remove nepotism and favoritism from the process of hiring in government. It is disheartening that 44 people – many who live in our town – who are more qualified for this position than Bernard Charles, were rejected, only because Mr. Charles is married to a Councilwoman. Brendel Logan-Charles has gone too far in abusing her elected position for her personal profit, while voting for the St. Lawrence tax increases that go to pay her family members and herself.”
Horowitz reported that Friedman sent an e-mail today to Supervisor St. Lawrence, Town Attorney Michael Klein, Personnel Director Linda Condon, and CSEA President Brian Spillman. The message includes specific charges against Charles “including not showing up to work, asking his superior to consult his wife, Councilwoman Logan-Charles, about his refusal to follow directions, and other issues. All these issues were made known to Supervisor St. Lawrence months ago, but no action was taken.”
Now that the test results on the Civil Service qualifying exams are known, Friedman will ask the supervisor and board to reconsider Charles’ work record at the next Town Board meeting and decide whether he should be removed.
You might recall recent promises by this same Town Board about eliminating favoritism—specifically, nepotism. Thursday’s meeting will be another test of the truthfulness of that resolve. I would expect test results similar to those that Bernard got on his Civil Service attempts.