ONLY ON 3: Barfield too busy ironing shirt to talk about commission imploding

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Submitted: Fri, 04/01/2011 - 3:02pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With one commissioner accusing another of holding secret meetings and stealing his notes and the other questioning his accuser’s mental status, the New Hanover County Commission clearly has some issues to work out.

We wanted to talk with Commission Chair Jonathan Barfield about what’s going on and what can be done to smooth things over, as well as his on-going battles with the New Hanover County Board of Education. But Barfield said he was too busy. He said he was unavailable because he had several meetings and had “to iron a shirt.” When we asked if we could e-mail him some questions to get some sort of response, he said, “I’d rather not e-mail. The e-mails go everywhere.” We even offered to meet him before this afternoon’s Agenda Briefing, but he said he could not talk until tomorrow.

This is just the latest example of Barfield avoiding our questions. Several times in the last couple of months he’s told us he just doesn’t have time to talk. We’ve given him ample opportunity. That’s our job.

Tonight on WWAY NewsChannel 3 you’ll see the other side of issues involving him as the leader of county government that he refuses to respond to in a timely manner.


  • Guest says:

    Doesn’t WWAY have anything better to report than to keep putting county commissioners in the news. I pull up the front page and the top 9 stories are nothing but the county commissioners having a bickerfest. I for one am sick and tired of reading about this every single day. Get over it.

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    May i submit a reality check for the people who think Mr. Barfield has no duty to answer questions to the media, GET REAL you have a responsibility to answer questions in regards to how your county is being run whether you are the media or the little old lady next door. If he is a elected official that YOU put in office to handle the county and it’s affairs. Guess what when you step into government like that you are going to be continually subjected to public scrutiny and accountability for your actions and the actions of your minions that seem to be out of control with all the jazz going on lately. This is NOT the correct way to conduct yourselves when you are in this position and certainly not what we as constituents expect of you so if you keep skeletons they will show up eventually.

  • TyroneBiggums says:

    Scott, you never had a busy day before? I think their meeting was at like 4:00 or so this afternoon. Sounds like Barfield had some stuff to do between mid-morning and then. NHC isn’t his full-time job and he was already going to be working on it for 2-3 hours today. He offered to speak tomorrow, was honest enough to say he was trying to iron a shirt and get to an appointment. So Berger is weird and Catlin stole his notes… that’s not an emergency, it could wait till tomorrow.

    Dang, you never been in a rush to get somewhere and you realize all your shirts are dirty except that wrinkled one you’ve delayed wearing since it needs to be ironed, which is because your wife left it in the dryer crumpled up for 2 days like an idiot instead of doing her job and hanging it up as soon as the dryer buzzed, but while you’re yelling at her about being a lazy harlot WWAY is calling you and she’s locked herself in the guestroom crying so now she won’t have dinner ready on time and you’re going to have to iron your own shirt and so you’ve got to tell the news guy to wait till tomorrow?

  • Lab Monkey says:

    Three cheers to TV3 for stepping up and taking a hard line with our elected officals! At least they are NOT concerned with putting an anchor’s name on every gimmick they can come up with (Cacky’s COats, Marcy’s Wheels) and all of the soft news the other guys do. As for our county comm’s.. on my! Joe is too busy threatening the school board.. Berger seems to be not quite right.. and NONE of them have the guts to stand up to City Hall. Between annexation, taxes, and our government I think it is time to move.

  • Guest333 says:

    To the bloggers who condemn the media for reporting what is going on in the Commissioners office,I ask you, “Would your rather not know? Is it better to keep your head in the sand or are your related to one of these goofballs?

    Why would you NOT want to know how ridiculous your elected officials are? They are clowns, like in the circus, being EXPOSED!

  • Guest says:

    While suggesting that he is against some for the intimidation of free speech, Catlin is trying to bully and intimidate his younger associate. I suppose if catlin goes after berger for the notes remark, we can expect berger to go after catlin for the crazy remark. Catlin is an arrogant man and he should think twice before he opens a pandora’s box-including his own closet. If Barfield or any of the others were a leader calmer heads would prevail and we would have an end to this–and a renewed focus on the county business, this all reflects on Barfield as a leader. A strong leader would bang heads in private and keep this from escalating even more.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    Or Obama’s ears? Or Johnson’s?

    No one ever made fun of Nixon’s heavy five-o’clock shadow or jowls, did they? Or Clinton’s weight?

    When you’re a public figure, you live with the image you project to the public. Barfield projects a fat image. Plus, he invited it when he said that he had no room on his belt for two cell phones. Give me a break! If he ever wants a snakeskin belt they’ll have to murder an anaconda.

  • guesty says:

    Don’t worry Mike, you can give him a hug if it will make you feel better.

  • Challengetheworld says:

    WWAYTV3, please, again, the way you report the news has various cause and effect on everyone. So, if the man is busy and honestly told you he had to iron a shirt, maybe he has to be somewhere for some purpose. His job is not to stop and talk to the news, so if he is too busy to talk to you, it should not effect the public’s perception of him. As a news organizaiton, please report the news, not the speculation.

    Maybe attend the public meetings and ask the questions then. Despite public opinion being a New Hanover County Commissioner does not mean he has to talk to the media about anything. He is serving the community and not serving you (WWAYTV3).

    Furthermore, I think more controversy is being stirred up in the local media than actually exists. Again, you are a news organization and not an entertainment organization. There are about 22 other hours per day where your local airwaves are chock full of Entertainment Tonight like platforms. The few hours in which the news has dwlindled down to, should be just that, THE NEWS!

  • Scott Pickey says:

    Challengetheworld – Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment this morning.

    Please allow me a chance to respectfully disagree.

    Couple of things:

    1) It IS part of his job and responsibility to stop and talk with local news outlets. We ask questions on behalf of the people who live and vote in this county. When he blows us off – he blows everyone else off too.

    2) HE said he was too busy ironing his shirt – not us. We’re just reporting what he said.

    3) We also asked if he could talk with us a few minutes before this afternoon’s agenda briefing at 4:00 p.m. at the Government Center. He said he was even too busy for that!

    4) We will be at the meeting this afternoon – but it is not proper for us to speak during a public comment period. That’s for citizens to speak.

    As a member of the media who’s job it is to hold public officials accountable, blowing us off for whatever reason and not making time to explain to his constituents what is going on — is UNACCEPTABLE.

    Scott Pickey
    WWAY News Director

  • Guest says:

    The problem is not so much what you are reporting, but how you are doing it. This “news article” reads more like a middle school newspaper submission than an article from a legitimate news organization. If the County Commissioner does not want to speak with you, the professional and non-editorial way to report would be along the lines of: “Despite our numerous attempts to contact the County Commissioner in regards to these matters, he has refused our requests.” It would be a simple one sentence statement, not a four paragraph rant. This article, like many others on this site, is attempting to make WWAY the focus of its own reporting. That fact is evident by the number of times “us”,”we”,”our”,etc. is used throughout.

  • Guest-of-the-day says:

    even our elected representative (Brian Berger) is getting this kind of brush off! What does it take to get you people to comply with the LAW!
    WWAYTV certainly has my sympathies in trying to find things out in a timely manner from you people (and by the arrogant, lecturing tone of voice, I’m presuming that this is a county employee saying these things)

    and NO, I’m NOT Ben McCoy!

  • Guest says:

    You must be Barfield’s brother or cousin or something, the way you defend him.

  • Guest7676 says:

    He’s not refusing to meet with you. He said he could meet tomorrow. Why give him such a hard time? I’m sure his position carries a lot of responsibility and he can’t just drop whatever he is doing to meet with the local news so they can print some more high school gossip stories. At least WECT has a little more class than this. I’m taking WWAY off of my favorites bar.

  • Guest says:

    Well I for one do not blame him for “blowing you off” and not speaking with you. Every county story written on here is over the top dramatic.

  • Robert B says:

    Once again wway thinks everyone should drop everything to talk to them, if the people really wanted to know show up to your local meetings and speak your mind. Wway is the law! Watch out they might pull you over if you dont use your blinker. Bad new, bad new what are you going to do next?

  • Guest says:

    Well said Scott!!

  • WilmWatcher says:

    Scott –

    I have no love for Barfield – but honestly, I don’t blame him. You guys regularly report everything you perceive as a personal slight against your station as “news”. Every single time somebody gives a reason why they can’t do an interview, suddenly it’s BREAKING NEWS!!! If somebody forgets to send an email inviting WWAY to an event – BREAKING NEWS!!! Your reporting has become childish, petulent, and whiny. Now cut and paste my comments and post them into a new BREAKING NEWS!!! story.

  • WilmingtonMAJ says:

    WWAY proves again that it ranks up with other news sources like the Star and the Enquirer. The Commission is IMPLODING? I agree with others, Barfield does not have to meet with anyone…it does not say anywhere he has to talk to the media. Should he…probably. Would it help chances of re-election…definitely. He is not required to do so though by his job description. Not to mention why would he talk to this station that reports on everything as if it’s the end of the world. HORRIBLE news source!

  • Guest Middle Sound says:

    I agree completely. At most news outlets, when a person involved in a story doesn’t give an interview, the reporter simply states that they haven’t responded to requests for an interview, or that they haven’t returned phone calls.

    Nowehere but on WWAY do I see the mere fact that someone won’t grant an interview actually BECOME a stand-alone story. When WWAY does this, they lose all appearances of being objective. Rather, they become an antagonist in the story instead of the neutral reporter of an event that they should be.

    This used to be the only station I watched. Now it’s a shadow of its former self, unless you’re into finding out what Teen Mom had for breakfast. In that case, you came to the right place.

    I pray for WWAY’s management to clean house and get a group of real professionals, instead of the opinionated paparazzi they have now.

  • Guest says:

    Yet WilmingtonMAJ, you log on here day after day and leave multiple comments. Must not be **that** horrible!

  • Challengetheworld says:

    1) I agree with you that he should speak with news outlets, but it is on his agenda and not the news stations. Keep in mind this is not his full time job. I do not agree with you that when he blows off you he is blowing everyone else off? That is rather pious to think that him stating he has a prior commitment is blowing everyone else off.

    2) I understand he said he had to iron a shirt. I find it refreshing that he was honest to you. Do you think if he said he had to goto the bathroom or perhaps go eat that would have satisifed you any better?

    3) Perhaps its best to arrange a time that he agrees with, then when he says he doesn’t have time you will not be surprised.

    Mr. Pickey I challenge you to something. Why don’t you let me surprise you outside of work with a tape recorder or video camera while you are on the way to do your job? Wouldn’t you agree that would be rather disrupting? I’m sure as you conduct business as a News Director you find it necessary to organize meetings at set times.

    I do not know Mr. Barfield, and I do not work for him. I also do not work for New Hanover County or any government entity for that matter. I’m simply stating that him brushing you off should not be indicative of how he conducts business. Furthermore, and finally might I add, my opinion on the matter is that he probably wanted to make some investigation before he spoke to the media. As you can see, even in your own regard, that sometimes the media can use words against people for certain “entertainment” values. Such is the case in this particular scenario when he gave his reasoning for needing to do some ironing. I think he would rather have his FACTS STRAIGHT before giving any public statement on the matter.

    Again, investigative journalism is necessary in your field. However, so is reporting the truth.

  • Challengetheworld says:

    I agree with WilmingtonMAJ and I see where he is coming from as well. We don’t have many choices. We aren’t in New York, or Miami or anywhere with abundant news sources. We have WWAY, WECT and Starnews. Slim pickings. However, as most of you are, I am concerned with current events and newsworthy stories.

    Seems we have to march through the muck to see a hint of what might be pertinent in the community. Controversy is good, when there are two sides to the story. Right now WWAY, you have only one. I know there have to be a few of you in there with some Journalism experience and education. I ask you to go back to the books and find those classes that taught you to investigate the hard stories BUT report the truth.

  • Guest says:

    I am in total agreement with Scott Pickey. If the media did not ask the questions that we need answered, who would.
    Maybe Mr. Barfield was too busy ironing that shirt so he could hurry over to the Board of Education to threaten them again. I must say we have an usual group of County Commissioners, and not in a good way.

  • Guest333 says:

    1. They are OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, and Barfield is THE CHAIR. He was approached by the media,(something that All Politicians should be ready akin to), and they asked a Legitimate Question.

    2.) You find it REFRESHING that he WAS HONEST about IRONING his shirt? I think it is HILARIOUS, EXPOSING the I.Q. of a New Hanover County elected official who was obviously trying to hide something and that was ALL that he could think of to say. Oh MY GOODNESS, We all better be worried about WHAT they must be up to.

    3.) WWAY~ Keep up the Good Work, Remind those ELECTED OFFICIALS that the PUBLIC WANTS ANSWERS, especially when there are BIG QUESTIONS about WHAT ON EARTH is going on in the PUBLIC Offices of OUR COUNTY GOVERNMENT. It is no longer acceptable to say… “I have a SHIRT to iron”. The HECK with that Commissioner! Prepare the night before, pack your lunch, do your wash, iron your clothes,brush your teeth, shine your shoes and show up for work like all politicians and expect the new media to be in your face because you seem to be able dish IT OUT, so now is your opportunity to prove that you can TAKE IT!
    Commissioner, learn from your colleague, and DON’T put up your Dukes!

  • Guest says:

    I agree with all of your points, well stated Scott, DON’T BACK DOWN to these strong-armed thugs who seem to bully people into submission!

    Perhaps Brian did have a reason to RANT, many people are NOT questioning his validity today!

    I respectfully disagree with “”Challenge the World””” 100%

    In my opinion, and in most peoples opinion, the news media is there to provide news to the public who chooses to tune-in, and that includes news that is peculiar, unusual, unprecedented and HILARIOUS!!! gotta run, I have to iron now….hahahahaha!!!

  • Guest says:

    what he was doing, he should talk to the media and anyone else that has a question for him. If he did not want to be in the public eye he should not have run for an ELECTED position in OUR government. Half the comments on here are a reflection of why this town and city is so screwed up. Every little thing they do should be gone over with a fine tooth comb, they are not exempt from scrutiny by either the public or the media. At least someone is asking the questions and exposing him for what he really is.

  • Guest says:

    All the media has to do to get information is log on to the NHC website and start reviewing the televised commissioner meetings.You can hear Barfield’s comments on just about anything you want to know.Same goes for Thompson and the rest.

  • Mike Miller says:

    I for one support WWAY. I’m tired of the back room deals and corruption going on in government. Expose all these politicians on both sides of the isle. It’s time that the people take back the government.

  • 2012notsoonenough says:

    WWAY is doing a GREAT JOB exposing mean-spirited commissioners and shady, shady, shady activities in the TOP county offices and county commissioners chambers. You know, there is so much going on in the County right now, that …Now, who thinks who is Crazy? Who has to iron? who stole whose notes? Who threatened to take it to the parking lot? Who is the Bully? I can’t keep up. My head is spinning. I would normally ask myself if they were all crazy, but WE elected them. We need to ask ourselves how to be better voters before the 2012 National elections or more than our NOTES will be stolen!!! Excuse me, I have to go iron my shirt and I use a steam iron, by the way. OMG!!

  • guesty says:

    Just like he claimed he didn’t have room on his belt for a second phone but that belt is long enough there is room for a filing cabinet and a laptop computer. I would imagine it would take a considerable amount of time to iron his shirt. It must be the size of an army tent.

  • Mike Miller says:

    I agree with WWAY on this, but your post criticizing Barfield because of his belt size (weight) is very low and shows your character and lack of class.

  • Guestasis says:

    Is that what it’s coming down to? Calling Barfield fat? Come on, really?

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    Picking on Barfield because of his weight – I’m shocked!

    Where do you learn such behavior?

  • Guest says:

    I just can’t wait for tomorrow’s episode of “As the County Turns!” Will Jonathan Barfield get his shirt ironed in time? Will Ben McCoy’s evil plot to take over the county come to fruition? Will Brian Berger finally believe that maybe everyone isn’t out to get him? Will Jason Thompson make it through the day without threatening anyone? Will the power trips ever end? Will our county government implode? Oh the suspense is killing me!

  • Rosegarden says:

    He avoids drama (gossiping on TV about his co-workers) and irons his own shirts! Rare in a man, much less a politician! Definitely has my next vote!

  • truthseeker says:

    You morons who think WWAY is too hard on our local Politicians are completely and utterly wrong. They are not putting their personal opinions on their reporting but the facts. The facts is what should be reported and then you make make whatever judgement you think about the story. You do not like the story, do not read it, do not watch WWAY. I intend to watch WWAY as my primary local news media as they do present the facts without opinion. Barfield is a joke. He is a one term politician. You want to support him, go ahead. But all you are doing is enriching his pants pocket which could hold a entire bank vault. WWAY wants as do most viewers transparency in County Politics which we have never had and need. I want to know what Commissioners are planning, what they want to spend tax money on and what they already fund. You like to be kept in the dark about what is going on in Politics in your community then continue to elect Barfield and Thompson with the unknown meetings they do without the public’s knowledge.

  • Just saying says:

    If Mr. Barfield saw Scott Pickey’s ambush hatchet job on Brian Berger yesterday, it is no wonder he chooses to avoid him.

    I have lost all respect for WWAY and its “news group”. Simply “Gotcha” journalism at its worse….

  • guesty says:

    I shouldn’t point out he is big, both in body size and mouth. Oh well, life is tough and nobody gets out alive.

  • Challengetheworld says:

    No relation. I don’t even know the man. Nor do I support all his decisions. I just think WWAY has gone to far this time and is making a story where there isn’t one.

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