Berger won’t resign; blames other commissioners for distractions

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Submitted: Fri, 09/09/2011 - 3:59am
Updated: Fri, 09/09/2011 - 6:07pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A day after his fellow commissioners called for his resignation, New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger held a news conference of his own this evening. Despite what his colleagues want, a defiant Berger said he would not resign and blamed the other commissioners for the distractions caused by his personal life becoming public.

“I’m not gonna let individuals on the board, who for quite some time have had different ideas about the direction New Hanover County is going dictate to me whether or not I should be on the board,” Berger said. “The reality is they were not among my supporters, but it is the people who elected me I have a responsibility to serve, as well as the people who did not vote for me. I take that responsibility seriously. I don’t do a perfect job. I’m human. Fallible. I believe I have been an effective commissioner and will be more effective moving forward.”

Berger said his presence on the commission has sparked debate and protected taxpayers against potentially harmful policies. He said without him he has no confidence that would continue.

“I know I do a very effective job when it comes to informing the public and making sure the public is aware of decision being made that affect their lives and their wallets,” Berger said.

Berger also blamed his fellow board members for the distractions affecting the commission, claiming they have tried to exploit his personal issues for political gain.

“In hindsight, I’ve made some pretty stupid decisions in my personal life, but the constant hand-wringing and attention some other members of the board have devoted to my private life has in fact created a distraction the actual events did not create,” Berger said.

Berger did apologize to the Wilmington Police Department and Chief Ralph Evangelous for saying the department lied on a report about the suicide attempt at Berger’s home last week.

“If my e-mail was worded poorly, I apologize,” Berger said.

Berger also explained why he did not address his recent personal issues at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting. He said that discussing his personal problems was not appropriate for a regular commission meeting, and that he was not going to drag down the board from discussing the issues on the agenda by bringing them up. He said he always planned to talk about them after Tuesday’s meeting, despite the fact he told WWAY Monday he might talk about them at Tuesday’s meeting. Berger also told WWAY Monday he was considering resigning, but wanted to talk to the other commissioners first.

“I can say unequivocally that that week was an aberration,” Berger said of the two run-ins with police last week. “If I was to resign because of some issues in my personal life, which I am addressing in private where they belong, then isn’t valid to ask for the resignation of commissioners who threaten violence against other elected officials and members of the general public?”

Berger was clearly referring to incidents involving Jason Thompson and Jonathan Barfield several months ago. Thompson invited Leland Mayor Walter Futch into the parking lot during a meeting on transportation issues. New Hanover County School Board members claimed Barfield threatened them over issues they disagreed with him on.

Berger said he is insulted by comments Barfield has made that he worries about threats to safety from Berger. Berger said he has no history of violence. He said while violence may be “the style” of other commissioners, it is not his.

Berger asked for forgiveness from citizens after apologizing for exposing them to “some aberrant and erratic behavior in my personal life.”

“I’m not a very good politician. I’m not a politician at all. I don’t have the charisma politicians usually have or the articulation, but I am sincere and genuine, and my comments this evening are just that,” Berger said.

Despite the apology Berger refused to explain what led to him winding up in the hospital after the reported suicide attempt. He also refused to answer questions many residents and county employees have raised about how the judgment he has shown in his personal life may translate to his ability to govern.


  • Guest says:

    Just watch the video of Mr. Berger’s press conference. Anyone who watches that can have no doubt of his serious mental issues and his inability to lead.

    Please resign, Mr. Berger.

  • John says:

    Give the guy a break. We have had politicians stay in office after doing several worse things than Brian. He has been tardy to meetings (like thousands of other politicians around the country), been in a car wreck (like thousands of us have) and had a fight with his girlfriend (that is not that uncommon) and that I think the media continues to overblow.

    Until he does something illegal, which he hasn’t, the media and all of us should take a step back and allow him to receive whatever help he needs in his personl life. If his personal life affects his judgement on voting matters then he should be removed.

  • Guest says:

    Gee….I was thinking more along the lines of PATHETIC.

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    Damn Brian, Could you at least shave and comb your hair before You hold a press conference. You look like you slept in your clothes, Your eyes all beady and red. You looked like You just burned a big Doobie or your other meds have kicked in. All of the pressure of getting up there and passing the buck on to the other commissioners and damn…A restraining order. When will it end?

  • WillbeDone says:

    Well Ms. Justice showed us the way. Now we start the facebook campaign, petition and develop a web page for information on how we do it. We need Berger out; we all post here and complain about him but take it from these pages and to our elected officials. As Ms. Justice stated calls and email to her and other officials will get this ball rolling, the contact info is below.

    In the meantime start turning up the pressure on his supporters. Start with the Cape Fear Tea Party Patriots and ABLE. They still support him; they walked him into the meeting this week and sat red shirted in support. If they support a candidate, call him or her out on the recall issue in public. Listed below are the candidates for 2010 that are officially endorsed by ABLE and its members. Please contact them and ask one simple question: Do we deserved better?
    • Thom Goolsby
    • Ed Higgins
    • Don Hayes
    • Janice Cavenaugh
    • Derrick Hickey

    Cape Fear Tea Party Patriots, go to their web page and see who you know, maybe work with them or they work for you, call them out and ask why they still think we need this type of embasserment. Maybe they’re a neighbor? Call them out on the issue of recall, why do we have to put up with this.

    It seems that from Mr. Berger’s comments we now have our directive clear. Please contact the following State representatives and ask for a recall election so we can remove Berger. We deserve better than what we got in Brian Berger, start the campaign now, let’s remove him. : Legislative Mailing Address: NC House of Representatives 300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 420 Raleigh, NC 27603-5925 : Legislative Mailing Address: NC Senate 16 W. Jones Street, Room 2115 Raleigh, NC 27601-2808 (919) 715-2525 – (910) 763-3339 Legislative Mailing Address: NC House of Representatives 16 W. Jones Street, Room 1319 Raleigh, NC 27601-1096 (919) 733-5754 Legislative Mailing Address: NC House of Representatives 300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 506 Raleigh, NC 27603-5925 (919) 733-5786

  • Guest says:

    I started this yesterday and sent an email to each one of those listed. If EVERYONE did this and swamped their offices with emails, phone calls, petitions, etc., they can’t help but hear us! It takes as little time to do as posting on this website. If you want Brian Berger out, just do it!

  • Guest28472 says:

    One word for this guy


  • GuestLee says:

    “Berger…blamed the other commissioners for the distractions caused by his personal life becoming public.” – Always blame the other guy for your problems; maybe someone of your voters will believe it (the stupid ones).

    “I believe I have been an effective commissioner and will be more effective moving forward.” Denial.

    “”I know I do a very effective job when it comes to informing the public and making sure the public is aware of decision being made that affect their lives…” – Denial.

    “…the constant hand-wringing and attention some other members of the board have devoted to my private life has in fact created a distraction the actual events did not create” – Again, blame the other guys.

    “Berger said he has no history of violence.” – Total denial.

    “…but I am sincere and genuine, and my comments this evening are just that” – Denial.

    “Berger refused to explain what led to him winding up in the hospital after the reported suicide attempt.” – Uh, it was probably the fact that he carved up his arm like a Thanksgiving turkey.

    “He also refused to answer questions many residents and county employees have raised about how the judgment he has shown in his personal life may translate to his ability to govern.” – I can tell you how it translates…he can’t govern.

    Brian Berger needs to go. His in ineffective as a leader and has serious mental issues which prevent him from performing the duties of his position.

  • Guest says:

    You forgot to add stalking (120 text messages in less than 2 hours to his ex-girlfriend), an hour and a half standoff with police, lying about the police, and cutting up his arms with a razor.

    Last time I checked it’s illegal to stalk someone and attempt suicide.

    He’s ineffective, has lost his credibility, and needs to go.

  • Guest6858 says:

    I was not aware that him retaining a Commissioner’s position was even his call to make. Boot him out…NOW!! He’s wasting valuable time and money.

  • honest abe says:

    Thank you WillbeDone for posting this. This is OUR government – our county commissioners work for us and we deserve better leadership. Brian needs to remove himself from this position for the sake of the citizens and his own mental health. If he won’t do it, we need to do it for him.
    I would especially urge those who blindly voted for Brian Berger to do your part and write the legislators listed in the above post asking for a recall.

  • GuestLee says:

    You’re so right. How can anyone watch this video and not see a mentally ill man on the edge? He can’t even perform the basic of taking care of his appearance…no shave, hair not combed, wrinkled clothes. He’s stumbling over his words, having trouble putting a sentence together, and blaming everyone else for his problems. The video says it all.

  • WilmingtonMAJ says:

    It’s blatantly obvious that Brian Berger has some issues he needs to deal with and not while he is trying to run a county. The man can’t even look presentable for a press conference that HE called. Honestly, whether all the hype is true or not doesn’t matter at this point…it and he are a major distraction and we are beginning to look as bad as Tabor City with RC and Frog. Please resign!

  • Guestifer says:

    I’ve watched the city and county boards on TV and it doesn’t look like that hard of a job. Pose posturing statements/questions to look tough on TV (does it seem to anyone else that these televised meetings are free campaign adds for incumbents?), vote yes on every housing development project, do nothing to foster economic development other than for those in the home building trades, and then present plaques to people and organizations for surviving one more trip around the sun each year.

    If you’ve sat in traffic or looked for a new job, you know that what previous board members have done to this point hasn’t really worked out that well for us. Why not let this “different” board member remain? By some weird reverse logic, it just might help!


    This has been great theater for Wilmington! Stay on Berger! Makes good tabloid news!

  • Barney's Burger Bonanza says:

    I’m starting to think that Mr. Burger is too good for you filthy, inbred, uncultured peasants. He should ride out the rest of his term and then run for President of the United States next! I know he’d be a better president than that philistine Obambo! (but then again i’ve flushed things down the toilet that are more intellectual than him, ha)

  • Guest says:

    I know Brian from years back. I can’t believe he became commissioner and now I can’t believe we can’t get rid of him. I knew he wouldn’t resign voluntarily or accept responsibility for anything. He has always found someone else or some situation to blame. It is never his fault. The world is out to get him. He is the victim–just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whatever Brian. You are a joke. Stop contacting my family or I will contact yours. Does mom and dad know the trouble you’ve gotten yourself into now? Just go away.

  • Guest461 says:

    …could very easily be applied just as well, if not better to the other 4 commissioners. Some serious house-cleaning by the voters is far overdue!

    There has been a lot of chin-music about Berger, with some of it deserved and some of it far overplayed. We cannot allow Berger’s issues to cloud over the facts of the misdeeds that the other four reigning commissioners have performed.

    Do you remember these?:

    Avoidance of details
    Refusal to answer rational questions
    Inability to spend within a budget
    Inability to develop a workable budget
    Inability to cut wasted spending
    Inability to improve our county infrastructure
    Raising of taxes
    Implemetation of additional fees
    There are many more…

    I’m not taking up for Berger, but the other four cronies are the ones responsible for the above issues of which Berger had no part. Never forget that!!! If you witch-hunters want to bitch incessantly, give it ALL out where it’s deserved, not to just one that has had some unfortunate personal episodes.

  • Guest461 says:

    An amazing resemblance!

  • Fawkes says:

    This is the greatest thing that has ever happened in local politics. So what if the guy is a maniac? So are you and I! LOOK at this country for god’s sake!
    Think about how many usually brain dead zombies are paying attention to local politics now! Maybe (its a dream I know) we might get… 25% turn out in the next election! I think that we would be better served if MORE, not less politicians were mad as hatters. Hell, anything is better than the god awful boring scam that “politics” normally is. Go Brian, go!!!! MADMEN WILL SAVE AMERICA!!!

  • Guest2012 says:


    All of you nutso crazy drivers in Wilmington….

    You have my unconditional permission to drive extra spiritedly (as you txt and or talk on your cells, going 05-50 miles an hour, swerving over the yellow lines) RIGHT INTO….

    the FEW imbiciles/brain dead/losers that still have Barrys sticker on their bumper. Not many, but the die hards…and ones in high places…

    Noticed mostly on UNCW personnel vehicles. WOW, and they’re near our kids who are paying FULL tuition.

    I saw one driving a new caddy today, 50 years old with piglets sticking out of her head and going into an UNCW building to work. FITTING!!!!!!!!
    Thank God that there is more intelligence in what is circling the drain than what Ms Piglet offers to our college crowd.

  • capt kirk says:

    Please go away Bri!…for your own good. Sometimes you gotta fold those cards!

  • SurfCityTom says:


    Unless, and until, he is convicted of a felony, I do not believe misdemeanors apply, he retains his position until he voluntarily resigns or is defeated at the polls.

    Now, why don’t all of you Brian beaters go out; identify a credible candidate; and begin showing him or her some support and help them prepare for a landslide victory, after a spirited campaign?

    It’s called, put your money where your mouth is.

    For that matter, start building up several candidates. Thompson announced he would not run for re-election. Barfield needs to go.

    So all of you spirited voters have your work cut out for you.

    Or continue just posting bags of wind here and watch Mr.Berger slide into another term of office.

  • Gramps1935 says:

    Let the man who is without sin, cast the first stone.
    If this was 99% of the rest of us, it would not even be a news story.

  • GuestLee says:

    “A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.” Mr. Berger has failed the objective. He can’t even help himself.

    It’s a news story because he is a PUBLIC figure and he makes decisions which affect ALL of us. I don’t trust him to make decisions for me.

  • Guest says:

    Proverbs 31:9 says, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

    Even the devil himself can quote scripture for his own purpose.

  • jpitt64 says:

    Stop giving this clown attention , all you’re doing if feeding his ego.

  • Guest says:

    I’m beginning to think that Mr. Berger needs this bad attention as much as he needs to carve his arms. I think it gives him the reassurance that he is a bad boy and needs to be punished.

  • Guest4221 says:


    The citizens who voted for you, including myself, believe that its best that you resign. If you really cared about New Hanover County, you would resign. You are doing us a lot of harm. Do whats best, swallow your pride, step down, and get your life in order.

  • not a rocket scientist says:

    Mr. Berger,
    As a member of the voting public that you think your presence is ‘defending’ by staying in office, I give you my enthusiastic permission
    to quit. I think I will be much better off without your truly erratic and strange behavior and garbled logic.

  • BurgerFan1982 says:

    Even when everyone is seemingly out to get him, Mr. Burger handles the situation in a classy, humble, and gracious manner. I mean when’s the last time you heard a politician admit that he’s “not a very good politican at all”? He’s got my vote, come next election.

  • Guest1969 says:

    You’re just as stupid as Berger is….LEARN HOW TO SPELL HIS NAME if you’re going to have your nose shoved that far up his behind.

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    You are half right. Mr. Berger is an act. A freak show.

  • GuestLee says:

    You’re as nutty as he is. How can you vote for someone who carves their arms like a Thanksgiving turkey, texts their ex-girlfriend over 120 text messages threatening suicide, has an hour and a half standoff with Police then lies about the Police, pulls the door handle off his girlfriends car, draws unemployment from another state while getting paid as a county commissioner, and hasn’t got the sense God gave a goose to resign when over 80% of the voters who elected you are calling for your resignation?

    The only truth he HAS told lately has been that he’s “not a very good politican at all”. Class act? What a fruitcake!

  • Challengetheworld says:

    Give me a break “BergerFan1982″ – I am seriously starting to think that since Mr. Berger has so much time on his hands HE IS POSTING for his on support. You must be kidding about saying he is “classy”. There is nothing classy about hacking up your arm, lashing out against the police and stalking your ex-girlfriend. This guy has no class, no professionalism and no chance of ever getting elected anywhere in this area again. He has made a joke out of the office of County Commisioner and any of his supporters should start seeing their own phsyicians for mental treatment.

    What a joke – Berger, go away.

  • Guest says:

    To BurgerFan….This IS YOU posting Brian, isn’t it? Trying to sneak one in by misspelling your name? Please resign. It is what the people of this county want.

  • Guest says:

    Berger burned the last bridges he had with fellow commissioners Tuesday night. His prior public comments about what he was going to discuss with fellow commissioners never saw the light of day because his 4 CONTROLERS, dressed in bright red shirts were in the audiance to keep Berger from straying from their appointed path. I was at the meeting but was not aware of who these 4 people were till after the meeting. I don’t know if they are visable on the video tape of the meeting. Talk about intimidation.

  • Guest228 says:

    Who will he blame this time? Funny, I havent heard a peep from him or seen him online on the StarNews expressing his outrage..sound like someone trying to distance themselves from their candidate???

  • truthseeker says:

    Sure I think Berger has mental problems but so do I believe being liberal is a mental disease. If anyone needs to go it is Barfield who needs to lose weight and shave but does that affect his politics. No he would still act dumb whether he lost weight and shaved. Between Saffo and Barfield I cannot think of which one makes me sickest, both in real estate and both pocketing money through political affliations. How about Thompson, a loud mouth buffoon. It is none of anyone’s business what anyone does on private time. I can see no effect on the county’s work force, duties and responsibilities. I do see a bunch of politicians I do not trust, have been in office to long and have their own personal misgivings. We just do not know about it. Look at what our politicians have done for us, Local, State and Federal. Recession, unemployment, regulations,crooked politics. bad judges, bureacratic nightmares. I guess we deserve it, we keep electing these idiots to serve. But not me, I sleep with a clear conscience cause I did not vote for any of them and in 2012 will not again.

  • GuestLee says:

    If you didn’t vote for any of them in the last election, and will not vote in the next election either, then you have no say in what happens in this county.

    If you don’t vote, don’t complain. You didn’t earn the right to have an opinion. THAT’s the truth!

  • Guest says:

    You’re trying to compare someone who needs to lose weight and shave to someone who stalked his girlfriend, cuts his arms, lies about police, and has serious mental issues? Not that I’m for Barfield either, but it does raise some serious questions about your own judgement.

  • Guest says:

    Just for clarification it should be noted that 4 of the 5 commissioners are serving their first term in office. I doubt they would agree that is too long. Maybe you should consider getting out the vote for your choice of candidates next time around. Also it would be a good idea for Brian to take advantage of his county paid (by taxpayers) insurance plan to check into the Oaks for an extended stay

  • Guest says:

    It really scares me that Berger’s handlers think so little of NHC that they would encourage him to stay in office instead of urging him to resign and get professional help. With friends like that Brian you don’t need any enemies. Stop listening to them, resign, get help, show a little courage and break those bonds. You are not serving the public at all, you are just a mouthpiece for them.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    the White House occupant did not feed Mr.Berger’s ego by rescheduling his address to Congress to allow Mr. Berger the spotlight.

    And Mr. Berger did not try to place the blame for his actions on the recent storm activity, childhood rearing issues, or water quality aboard Camp LeJuene thirty years ago, Yet.

    The only real question is how long until his next tumble.

  • SouthEastNC says:

    I was confused reading that post at first too… but I think maybe the poster is saying that in the last election, he/she voted for County Commissioner candidate(s) other than Berger and Catlin (like Causey for example)? And that in 2012 he/she won’t be voting for any of the three who might run for re-election (Jason, Jonathan, and Ted)?

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