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Berger flips out on fellow commissioners, county manager and staffers

READ MORE: Berger flips out on fellow commissioners, county manager and staffers
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) - New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger sent a scathing email on Monday to members of the county staff, ripping them apart for not getting information to him he requested regarding an air-quality issue.

In the email, Berger claims aside from not getting the info he wants, he's also not been invited to what he calls "secret meetings" and not being included in on the decision making process.

He also says, "THIS PROCESS IS ABUSIVE, INDICATIVE OF CORRUPTION, AND IT ENDS TODAY." (The all caps are his.) "I am extremely disappointed in the County's secrecy, concealment of information, indications of hidden agendas, and if there is no validity to these assertions...drop the games."

We have reached out to Berger to find out more about his accusations. He won't call us back. We're also talking with Commissioner Jason Thompson right now and we'll have his reaction on WWAY NewsChannel 3 at 6.

EDITOR'S NOTE: There was no way to forward Berger's email back to the TV station, so we had to type it out long-hand. This is a copy of the entire email. The caps and bold font are Berger's.






FROM: Brian Berger
SENT: Monday, March 28, 2011 10:59 AM
TO: Bruce Shell (New Hanover County Manager), Chris Coudriet (Assistant County Manager), Chris O'Keefe (County Planning Manager), Shawn Ralston (Senior Environmental Planner)
CC: wilmingtonliberty@hotmail.com
SUBJECT: RE: Request for Information on Non-Attainment Issues

Chris and Shawn,

Where are the original documents and information I requested amd have yet to receive from your department?

If I wanted filtered documents I'd have asked for filtered documents and information, I asked for a complete file of raw information, documents, meeting schedules and written summaries of previous meetings from the past six months and next six months. I do not want that information "cleansed" "filtered" or "altered" and my patience is wearing thin. I don't appreciate the secrecy and games being played with this issue.

Shawn, Please PROVIDE THE RESPONSE TO MY REQUEST DIRECTLY TO ME TODAY WITH ALL THE RAW INFORMATION I REQUESTED. I did not ask for that information to be sent to a middleman to "filter" the information for me to decide what I can and can't see, this is not acceptable.

Shawn, I want all the documents I requested which you have not provided to me delivered to me AS REQUESTED immediately. A full un-altered file as you proveded to the County Manager(s) EXACTLY as provided.

Bruce and Chris C, if you have directed Chris O'Keefe and Shawn to stonewall my request that is unacceptable. However, given the secretive meetings involving other commissioners and staff on the non-attainment issues, please add the dates of any meetings among staff and any commissioners present and a briefing of who was at those meetings, the dates, decisions and proposals discussed, and an explaination for why I was left in the dark?

I want added to Shawn's documents which should be delivered to me this morning in full without an revisions, a separate set of documentation from the County Manager including a list of all meetings involving internal staff, commissioners selected without discussion who were part of that process I have been kept in the dark about, and any documentation of substance not in Shawn's file for me -- priovdided separately TODAY -- this can be added to Shawn's file sent to County staff but not me (who made the request but apparently the only one to not receive the information despite being the source of the request).

Rick Catlin has alluded to secretive meetings where issues have been discussed and misinformation and strategies were discussed. I want a full account of all such meetings.

I expect to be invited to and involved in scheduling for any meeting (including internal) on non-attainment and related issues beginning TODAY!!!!

This stonewalling and secrecy and attempt to filter information is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Any information you can add that supplements the file Shawn has compiled send to me under separate cover, I expect to receive Shawn's raw information responding to my original request sent to me electronically THIS MORNING. BRUCE and Chris C., I expect any additional information provided separately without altering one word or removing a single document from shawn's file fulfilling my request. Any additions to Shawn's file including meetings Rick C. has alluded to I expect from the County Manager today! Separate from Shawn's file with all the documents, correspondence and other info I requested.

I want full information on these internal meetings and external meetings, and stategy discussions I was barred from any knowledge or notice about over the last six months. Who was there? What strategies were discussed? Date? Location? All memos, correspondence, strategy and position documents I Want this morning!!!!,,

I EXPECT TO BE INVOLVED IN EVERY MEETING FROM NOW ON THIS ISSUE,.

The way this is being handled is, I repeat, NOT ACCEPTABLE. Maybe this is how things were done in the past and some (Commissioners and unelected individuals in the community want to handle this) but it HAS TO CHANGE.

I want the documents I requested today, directly from Shawn and Chris O'Keefe unedited and unchanged, in full compliance with my request. PLEASE TELL ME HOW YOU WILL FINALLY MEET MY REQUEST TODAY...ALL DOCUMENTS AND INFO SHOULD be provided electronically ASAP. Any information on meetings, documents, correspondence or additions to fulfill the spirit of my request which are in possession of Any County Manager(s), Legal staff, I expect to be provided as well today. Separate from the raw documents I want directly from County Planning. Bruce and Chris C. provide ALL ADDITIONS requestes here or reasonable additions and documentation and correspondence not in Shawn's file fulfilling my request may be inserted into Shawn's file I asked for but you received while I have been kept in the dark, sent under separate cover or inserted into Shawn's file but how you provide these documents and written information SHOULD NOT DELAY THE FILES SHAWN WAS TO PROFIDE TO ME, DIRECTLY,

THIS APPROACH IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. I want a list of every meeting involving County Manager(s) today, I want any correspondence not in Shawn's file today. I want a list of meetings involving County staff, commissioners, external regulatory agencies, community organizations, correspondence, memos, strategy suggestions, meeting summaries, sent to me today separate from Shawn's complete file of unaltered or filtered documents delivered to me today unfiltered.

I EXPECT TO BE FULLY SATISFIED IN MY REQUESTS TODAY, AND A FULL SCHEDULE OF ALL MEETINGS FROM THE COUNTY MANAGER TODAY!!!! I expect a complete list of past and future meetings on "non-attainment" today, and an invitaton to attend every meeting scheduled from 9:00 am today until further notice.

After MY REQUEST for written files, is fully satisfied today (after unnecessary and unacceptable delay tactics).

I am absolutely appalled by the handling of this matter and I don't want phone calls, or "updates"...It's too late for that after what has occurred so far,. After I receive complete fulfillment of my requests from the Planning Dept. and County Manager(s), in writing, complete today, then discussions can occur on moving forward in a practical manner that ends the unacceptable handling of this issue to date.

BRUCE AND CHRIS C, instead of "filtering" the information from Planning, please send me a full transcript of meetings on this issue the past six months, who was present, who said what, strategy and position statements, correspondence, memos, and I want a schedule of internal and external meetings (every single meeting held or scheduled) with extensive details.

The secrecy and "spinning games" demand that I formally request a seat at the table for EVERY SINGLE meeting and conversation on this issue effective immediately, beginning today.

After my request is met today, in full, with separate responses from Shawn and Chris O'Keefe, and separate responses from the County Manager(s) to the request sent to Planning Dept. last week from the County today,as well, provided separately, in writing, with all electronic files sent electronically.

I am appalled at the way this has been handled. Secerecy was unneccessary but clearly the approach of County staff, and Commissioners who were not "kept out of the loop" as I have been. I was elected by the people and should not have to file FOIA requests or deal with this abuse of power by certain commissioners and/or staff.

When my request is satisfied by both the County Manager(s) and Shawn, today, separately, then we can talk about this issue, but not until my request is met, exactly as requested.

"Updates" are not an appropriate response to my request for original information, until I am satisfied my request has been met, all documents and meeting briefings are provided, TODAY!!!!

EVERY MEETING ENSURE I AM PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR FROM NOW ON!!!!

Every document and correspondence I want from both Planning and County Managers, provided separately...and I want staff to develop a document with a complete list of what actions are needed to ensure the way this non-attainment issue has been dealt with NEVER happens again on any issue!!!!

I EXPECT MY REQUEST WILL BE FULFILLED TODAY, that from today forward I will have a seat at the table for every single meeting on this issue from now on, every document requested from the period I was kept out of the loop, and who was involved, decisions made...suggestions, position recommendations, correspondence.

I expect the information from Planning provided in full...exactly as requested, including the file sent to County Manager's exactly as sent...And County Manager's to only add ANY additional materials which are not part of the file prepared by the Planning department. Thos materials from County Management and Legal should be provided today, separately, inwriting, original documents and only meetings scheduling from today forward, and a full account of meetings the past six months or documents not provided to Shawn sent to me under separate cover.

This secrecy and approach ends today. I am fed up at being excluded and the misinformation and unauthorized activity on "non-attainment."

Bruce and Chris C., I will send you the request sent to Chris O'Keefe and Shawn last week which I await a response to...I expect it today directly from Shawn. Nothing changed. You may revise that file but not delay or alter that file. If you wish to make any changes that must be provided in addition to the "raw" information. I expect TODAY a response in writing with all the information requested from Planning from your office as well.

Before amending anything from Shawn and Chris O'Keefe's file in response to my request I WANT A LIST OF MEETINGS SCHEDULED, A SUMMARY OF PAST MEETINGS, STRATEGY DOCUMENTS

THIS PROCESS IS ABUSIVE, INDICATIVE OF CORRUPTION, AND IT ENDS TODAY. WE CAN TALK ABOUT THIS AFTER MY REQUEST IS FULFILLED BY THE COUNTY MANAGER(S) - DO NOT EVEN BOTHER TO REVISE AND STALL THE REQUEST SENT TO SHAWN AND CHRIS O'KEEFE. SEND ME YOUR RESPONSE TO THE REQUEST DIRECTED TO SHAWN LAST WEEK, ENSURING ANYTHING OMMITTED OR NOT INVOLVING THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT IS SENT TO ME IN WRITING TODAY, ELECTRONICALLY OR AVAILABLE IN THE COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE BY 5:00 PM TONIGHT AS A HARD COPY.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, SEND A LIST OF FUTURE MEETINGS, WITH ALL DETAILS, THIS MORNING, AND A LIST OF ALL DETAILS ON MEETINGS THE PAST SIX MONTHS, AND ANY CORRESPONDENCE, AND ANY INFORMATION ON STRATEGY DISCUSSIONS, DOCUMENTS, MEMOS, CORRESPONDENCE. BY CLOSE OF BUSINESS TODAY.\

I am extremely disappointed in the County's secrecy, concealment of information, indications of hidden agendas, and if there is no validity to these assertations...drop the games. I was elected by the citizens and I am appalled that I being stonewalled and excluded from secretive discussions on the "non-attainment" issue. Get me that schedule of future meetings THIS MORNING, NOTE I WILL EXPECT TO BE PRESENT AT EVERY MEETING FROM NOW ON, AND GET ME ALL THE INFORMATION ON THIS MATTER PER MY REQUEST TODAY.

THE ACTIONS OF STAFF AND CERTAIN COMMISSIONERS HAS BEEN AN AFFRONT TO OPENNESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY.

HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO REQUEST INFORMATION AS AN ELECTED OFFICIAL TO GET A RESPONSE????

Thank You for Getting Me a FULL Response with unaltered materials and documentation TODAY!!! (See request below to Chris O'Keefe and Shawn Ralston..I expect a full response from Planning today and a separate response from County Manager's, completely separate from the response from Planning Dept., TODAY as well)

I hope this provess will end now and this is the last time I am excluded from discussions I should be involved in and the last time I request information and get stonewalled instead of a response, a total disregard for the public who expect that this "business as usual" from New Hanover County Government will end and we the people will be spared misleading information like that which has defined the handling of this non-attainment issue by the County is never repeated.

A FULL RESPONSE TO MY RERQUEST I EXPECT TODAY! No More excuses. We can talk "updates" and other actions to prevent a repeat of this affront to accountable open transparent government following fulfillment of my request, now with the same request being delivered (with this e-mail) to County Management that was previously sent to Planning Dept,. and I want responses from both today!

I expect to be at EVERY meeting and copied on all correspondence pertaining to "non-attainment" effective immediately, forwarded all previous correspondence and meeting info, today.

Thank You,

Brian

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Catlin exposed

What all this does is show us how reprehensible Catlin is.
As I read the various e-mails and see some comments each has made,
I have little doubt that Catlin tried to stiff Berger and ,in turn, those of us here by not keeping Berger in the loop or answering a question by phone. Beyond that, since he would rather not deal with facts, Catlin now tries smears. As others have noted this is an arrogant man not used to being challenged. who does he think he is- Bill Caster?
Let's move on and watch all these guys more closely.

the Alabama twang of Ben McCoy

Can't you just hear that awful Alabama twang of Ben McCoy -- Berger's chief puppet-master -- in the above comment?

You've been EXPOSED for your multiple "guest (not verified)" comments, but we in leadership positions know who you are and your game's up. Get on back to Alabama you unemployed loaf!

Brian Berger's State of Mind

The above email is not what I would expect from a sane and sober elected official. Someone needs to intervene and provide the gentleman some help

It sounds like Brian Berger

It sounds like Brian Berger thinks EVERY passing conversation is a "secret meeting" and should include him. Maybe there should be a moratorium on talking at the NHC Government Center when he's not around, so he doesn't miss any "secrets."

The guy is obviously being coached by his tea party compadres. So much for transparency.

This is what people get when they vote straight ticket, folks. If anyone had taken the time to investigate this guy before casting his/her vote, it would have been obvious he isn't fit for public office-- or much else.

Berger + McCoy post in fake names, sham EXPOSED

Since Ben McCoy and his ABLE supporters are mostly un-employed losers, please know that the many "pro-Berger" posts are from McCoy. It's part of their policy to "win the blog wars" at all costs. Thus Berger and McCoy have no regular 9-5 job -- they post many different comments in many different names. I've heard they use an IP masking service to trick WWAY, WECT and the StarNews blog sites into thinking they are many different computer users with unique IP addresses. But the tone and nutty rhetoric are all the same! Pathetic!

Mirrors + Smoke + Wild unfounded accusations = THANKS guys.

This email sounds like a man

This email sounds like a man that is totally frustrated and feels like banging his head against the wall. Isn't this how we all feel when trying to deal with our wonderful local government. Has he received the information he requested?

What Secrecy?

I still haven't heard what the allegations are. Secrecy, collusion, conflict of interest? The county's actions on air quality to this point have pointedly been in the county's best interests. What exactly is Commissioner Berger alleging besides the fact that other commissioners have spent much more time and energy on this important topic than he has?

Berger is right

Did Berger lose his professionalism? Sure. Did he misspell some words? Sure. But does that detract from the fact the other commissioners and other departments are excluding him from representing the very people that elected him? No, not at all.

Its quite disgusting that people on here are blaming McCoy and Wilmington Liberty when the real blame should lie with the other elected officials on the county commission.

Are you people that blind to what is going here or are you people just that dumb? Or is it that these comments are posted by political operatives and people that benefit from said good ol' boy network? I refuse to believe that the comments on this board accurately reflect what the people of Wilmington actually believe.

Is it really that crazy and "nut job" to ask for more transparency in local government? Is it really that crazy or "nut job" to ask the county to be a little more fiscally responsible?

Where is the outrage in that?

P.S. Thats not even a picture of Berger in the article, yet the file is labeled as such. Nice work WWAY.

transparency?

Ok then, tell us what Mr. Berger's "day job" is. Let's see some transparency.

Brian Berger & Ben McCoy are both NUT-JOBS!!!!

These guys are PATHETIC with too much time on their hands. Keep in mind, it was probably McCoy who wrote this stupid e-mail and many of the post that support Brian Berger on this site. How much longer are we going to put up with this crap??? OUT WITH BOTH OF THEM!!!!

Berger's letter

While I agree with Mr. Berger's assertion that secret commission meetings must stop, it disturbs me to see what little knowledge he has in writing a concise letter to his colleagues.

With this rambling letter complete with misspellings he appears to be a by product of what is coming out of our government schools these days.

Has he not heard of spell checker?
I love Mr. Berger's enthusiasm and I appreciate him watching out for corruption in our county, but I implore him to improve his communication skills so that he will sound more like an adult and thus be taken more seriously.

is that all your concerned

is that all your concerned with is someones spelling and grammar ...there was nothing wrong with bergers email it was very professional and it stressed the point he was trying to make ,i found it very asssertive and wrote in a legal, legible manner .i dont blame the man look who he is working with, thompson has turned in a county phone because he was withholding information from the public ..its a shame all u have to do is push a button and wham any tom, dick , harry and marry is on the enternet doing spell checks ...while programmers and pc technicians are the backbone that makes your button come on so you can do your lil preschool grammar check ...

Spell check wont help that

Please tell me you are joking. His letter was nothing more then an unstructured rant put to type. He was unclear at best not to mention abusive to a staff that I am sure has nothing to hide from him or any other citizen or elected official. How can one effect change if they can not master even the basics of written communication? He appears to be playing (although poorly) the same political games he accuses others of. I can’t believe I have to say this, but I agree with Mr. Thomson, Mr. Berger needs a civics class, not to mention some remedial English lessons.

Catlin is bad news for all of us

Duplicity, doublespeak and smugness all add up to catlin -friend of developers, friend of catlin, friend of special interests. As someone below noted I do have voter remorse- I made the mistake fo voting for Catlin who is not being truthful rather than taking a chance on someone new. I'd rather have Berger asking questions on public matters than Catlin cutting deals with special interests!

GOT TO BE KIDDING ME

UM . . .SPECIAL INTEREST . . .CATLIN IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER. BERGER WHAT DO YOU DO BESIDES SIT AT HOME BLOGGING TO ALL OF US ABOUT YOUR GREATNESS AND CORRUPTION OF OTHERS. THANKYOU STRAIGHT TICKET VOTERS. . . .YOU LET ONE WAHOO IN AND THIS IS WHAT TAX PAYERS HAVE TO DEAL WITH IS AN IRATE, IRRATIONAL, UNPROFESSIONAL COMISSIONER FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS. STOP WHINING AND START DOING SOME WORK BERGER!

THOMPSON TURNS COUNTY PHONE IN

BERGER MEANS BUSINESS THE MAN IS SINCERE AND IS CONCERNED ...It's often said that politicians can truly be themselves when they don't have a future run for office on their minds. Such appears to be the case with New Hanover County Commissioner Jason Thompson.

Apparently upset that some wanted to access his county-subsidized cell phone records, Thompson decided to stop taking a stipend for his phone and stop taking calls concerning county business.

He'll return calls. But he wants callers to call the county commissioners' office and they'll send him an email, giving us yet another way to decrease efficiency in government.

This is a childish solution and a cop-out for Thompson. He was once seen by many as a maverick that would not back down from an opinion or a fight. But with this move he appears to be checking out early and decreasing his commitment to service.

Jason Thompson is still a county commissioner, and he still needs to be responsive. If this is any indication of how he is going to serve his remaining time in office, then why wait for the next election?
.............and i trust rick catlin about as far as i could throw him to make a basketball goal ....BERGER IS THE MAN.. HE IS CONCERNED AND VERY SINCERE ..BERGER STAND TALL BROTHER KEEP GOING AND DOING YOUR BEST FOR US... I BELIEVE IN YOU ...

Look at it this way....since

Look at it this way....since Jason Thompson isn't taking a stipend for a county cell phone he is actually saving the taxpayers a few bucks, "it ain't much but every little bit helps" don't you think? Secondly, you said "It's often said that politicians can truly be themselves when they don't have a future run for office on their minds", well Brian Berger is being himself and I hope he doesn't have a future run in mind because it's not going to happen, MARK MY WORDS!!!!!

you dont understand you

you dont understand you should research this like i did and you will see $75 was not all there was too it, now the county clerks salary and a extra work load for her is involved because thompson had indeferences about the county phone issued to him ..(quote from older news article) "When a citizen wants to reach Thompson, they can call the clerk at 798-7260, and she will send an email to the commissioner. Thompson has said earlier he will not seek re-election. "BERGER WAS FRUSTRATED WITH INFORMATION NOT BEING SENT TO HIM AND WHEN HE DID RECIEVE INFORMATION IT HAD BEEN ALTERED WITH OTHER COMMISIONERS THOUGHTS OR DETAILS ...(I DONT CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS; BERGER EARNED MY VOTE AND DONATION ,HE STOOD UP FOR HIMSELF AND MORE SO FOR THE PEOPLE OF WILMINGTON FOR FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR ALL , NO SECRETS, NO GAMES , NO ALTERED INFORMATION ,AND SENT IN A TIMELY MANNER ... THATS THE KINDA MAN I WANT RUNNING THINGS FOR ME BERGER..(NOT ONE WHO TURNS A PHONE IN AND ONE WHO THINKS HE KNOWS IT ALL AND HE S RUNNING THE SHOW , OR ONE WHO STEALS PEOPLES NOTES AND SENDS THEM TO THE NEWS , AND ONE WHO MAKE S A BIG DEAL OUT OF A EMAIL THAT WAS PERFECTLY LEGAL AND BROKE NO LAWS AND WAS BEING ASSERTIVE DEMANDING THAT CHANGES BE MADE FOR MORE PRODUCTIVE COMMISIONER DUTIES ...

Could your headline have

Could your headline have been any more biased? Berger's e-mail sounded like a man tired of getting the runaround. If he had 'flipped out' I'm guessing there would have been more expletives and a lot less coherence. Star News has once again proved their left wing bias.

um...

You do know that this is WWAY & not Star News, right? Oh, sorry, Mr. Berger...

OK.....

So the email REPEATS itself and isn't written as well as it could be....HOWEVER, as an elected leader he as a RIGHT to ask for information. It appears as if that information isn't getting to his desk and people are trying to edit/hide things within them. I for one THANK Berger for stepping up and going against the grain here. I hope he keeps it up! Keeps the pressure on and plows thru any of the stonewalling that we all KNOW is present. The county manager needs to remember that he WORKS for those we elected and has a duty to provide documents that are being asked for. In addition, if employees aren't providing the information...the county manager needs to knock some heads for others not doing their jobs. Bottom line...if I go past my floor manager and ask an employee for information and I don't get it being told I have to go to my floor manager....that employee is FIRED! As the boss...I can go to whomever I want for information if that's what I want to do. You can tell the floor manager that I asked for the information...but it's my prerogative to get the information how I want it and from who I want it.

Our Childish Politicians

First I just want to say Berger & Thompson are on POWER TRIPS! We need to get this crap out of office. They are just wasting the taxpayers money. They do NOTHING for the people. It's schoolyard BS. Please everyone vote so the people can get someone in office who is there for the people instead of all the inside fighting. Nothing gets done because their egos are too big. This town is broke and all the commisioners do is fight amongst themselves. When are we the people going to realize that they do nothing for us!!!!!

OK

I think he might be eluding to something that has to do with being included in on meetings and might be somewhat upset that he is being left out and he might possibly be wanting information from someone that would support his feeling of exclusion but I'm not sure, still a little fuzzy on it.

Berger????

He's either onto something OR on something. Guess time will tell.

Berger?????????

I would choose the latter!

Calling Carolyn J are you listening?

Here's an idea, how about a recall election?

Write: Carolyn.Justice@ncleg.net. Legislative Mailing Address: NC House of Representatives 300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 420. Raleigh, NC 27603-5925 and tell her we want the same recall legislation introduced for New Hanover County as you did for Topsail Island and let's throw him out!!!

Fair is Fair Carolyn he's your boy :)

Tick tick tick tick....the time to leave is coming!

Thanks god they didn't try to change the channel on him...

Brian, we all know you and your red shirted commie cronies post here, so this is it - When will you admit you have a problem with social skills, personal interactions, anger,and a severe case of paranoia and god knows what other type of disorder you have. Please quit, you and the other freaks that handle you are making a mockery of the political system.

signed,

a fellow commisioner.

LOL@ The Tea Baggers!

How's your boy workin' out for ya?!

Far better than had we voted for ANY Democrat at all

I'll take crazy over a tax and spend liberal ANY day of the week.

Plus, he must not be TOO crazy: He voted against that mooching "arts council."