WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — This has been a stressful and emotional week for New Hanover County Commissioners. An agenda briefing earlier this afternoon was the first time all five have been in a room together since County Commissioner Brian Berger’s scathing email, bashing other commissioners.
During the twenty minute briefing, commissioners seemed to get along. Playful banter was exchanged, but Commissioner Brian Berger was missing. He showed up forty minutes late.
One thing was clear, commissioners were very reluctant to speak with us. All the commissioners dodged questions and got out of the room as quickly as possible.
It’s no wonder they avoided speaking with the media. Berger has made headlines after a scathing email sent to county staff, claiming other commissioners were having secret meetings and intentionally keeping him out of the loop.
He later accused County Commissioner Rick Catlin of stealing his notes at a recent commissioner meeting. The harsh accusations have caused a lot of tension between commissioners. Catlin, in reaction to Berger’s comments, has said he was worried about Berger’s mental health.
Berger wasn’t the only commissioner dodging questions. Commission Chair Jonathan Barfield stormed out of the closed session meeting about 45 minutes before it ended and also avoided talking to reporters.
We reached out to Barfield this morning to talk about all these issues, but he told us he had stuff to do all day and was ironing a shirt.
Then, an interesting tidbit happened this afternoon at the agenda briefing. He came out of the closed session on his cell phone. He stopped talking for a minute to show all of the reporters how nicely pressed his shirt was.