Police report: Spring Valley Cultural Arts Center left unlocked last month, possible intrusion reported

SPRING VALLEY – Spring Valley is a place where local affairs are often marred by public spats and questionable administration, but occasionally, mistakes among government workers can lead to risky situations as well.

A recently-released police report shows that Town of Ramapo employee Bernard Charles was called to the Ramapo Cultural Arts Center on Main Street, Spring Valley on October 21 after it was discovered that a door to the building was left unlocked, leaving it open for potential intrusions.

Spring Valley police responded to a report that suspicious individuals were leaving through a doorway on the Dr Berg Lane side of the Cultural Arts Center. Two individuals standing at the Southeast corner of Dr Berg and North Main Street were questioned, but sent away without incident.

After finding the door to be unlocked, two officers cleared the building and called Charles-one of the building’s key-holders-to the scene. After determining that everything was in order, Charles stated that he would review security footage to determine if anything suspicious had occurred and locked up.

At the same time, Charles explained he was one of several key-holders and was not the one who left it unlocked. No signs of forced entry were seen and it is unknown how and why the door was left open.

Charles, husband of Ramapo Councilwoman Brendel Logan, and a former candidate for Spring Valley mayor and current East Ramapo School Board member, was the focal point of controversy in June when it was revealed that he had received a $5,000 per month consulting gig with the Town of Ramapo while also serving as Spring Valley’s Parks and Recreation supervisor. He has since resigned from both positions, but has taken up a new one as the assistant recreation activities coordinator with the Town of Ramapo, with his main duties being director of the town’s Cultural Arts Center.

Ramapo Town Councilman Daniel Friedman told the Rockland County Times that he is not satisfied with Charles’ job performance and would like to see him relieved of his duties. His hiring in 2014 had been controversial from the outset.

“Bernard Charles has been a walking personnel issue since literally the very first day he started, and he has become the poster child for the terrible consequences of nepotism in government,” Friedman said. “While it’s not completely certain that his incompetence that day led to illegal activity taking place on government property, what is certain at this point is that it is time for him to go.”