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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger has had a chaotic and controversial couple of weeks. It all came to a head yesterday when the other county commissioners asked for his resignation.

Wednesday night Berger released a statement saying he looks forward to continuing his service as a county commissioner. That has many thinking could or will there be a recall vote?

“I would need to have a substantial number of people ask me to do that,” Rep. Carolyn Justice (R-16th District) said. “I might even require them to get petitions signed and I see that it’s something that folks really want.”

State legislators from our region understand that because of the situation with Berger many people are wondering about a recall vote. Fellow commissioners asked Berger Wednesday to resign, because his personal issues have become, they said, a public distraction.

When Berger said he would not resign, it left questions about pushing a bill through the legislature to do something about it. One Pender County town recently had a similar issue.

“I recently did one for the Town of Topsail Beach,” Justice said about a recall bill. “I required that a substantial number of people actually ask me to do it. Once I wrote the bill it required that 30 percent of the registered voters petition to have it done. Then it goes on a ballot, and we decide, when writing the bill, whether it’s going on the next ballot or we choose when it’s going to be heard.”

Justice, who supported Berger’s run for county commission, says she would need Rep. Danny McComas (R) and Rep. Susi Hamilton (D) of New Hanover County to agree to support a recall bill in the legislature’s short session next spring. They would also need the support of Sen. Thom Goolsby (R), who represented Berger in court after he was arrested in June.

Rep. McComas was out of town Thursday, but said by phone that legislation can only be made while in session, and that will not happen until May. He said one thing that could get the ball rolling would be if New Hanover County Commissioners pass a resolution asking for the legislature to weigh in.

Justice says the key to considering something like this is local support.

“I think you know by listening to the news, I think you know by your phone calls, the people you meet in restaurants, I mean, you know when it begins to build and it’s something that people want,” she said.

We tried to get talk with Sen. Goolsby but he has not returned our calls.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest 43

    I live in New Bern, and we had very similar situation arise. Simply put, check the City Charter for Wilmington. Is there a provision for a recall procedure? If not, Wilmington will like New Bern was STUCK. A recall procedure can be added, but it would involve the state legislature and would not apply to the current situation. Collect your petitions and use them to convince your Representative and Senate member to sponsor a local bill to amend the charter.

  • Guest

    I started yesterday. I sent personal emails to all of our state representatives and the Republican Chairwoman. If everyone else sent up a roar of “RESIGN” or “RECALL” to every legislator in Raleigh, someone would have to finally listen.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Why doesn’t WPD simply return his rifle to him?

  • SurfCityTom

    of a story from my youth. Brer Rabbit & the Tar Baby.

    Berger seems to be the Tar Baby.

    Goolsby & McComas are staying far clear of him.

    Meanwhile, the Tar Baby continues to draw his Commissioner’s salary.

    Does any responsible person really think he will go softly into the night?

  • Guest

    I’m sorry but there is something about a recall that flies in the face of personal responsibility. This responsibility belongs to the voters. New Hanover County voters elected Brian Berger and for better or worse he should remain to serve out the rest of his term. You voted for him. You got him.

  • GuestLee

    No, we didn’t get what we voted for. We voted for a rational, stable, forward moving man who would improve the county we live in. He misrepresented himself, and voters are sick of him and his antics. He needs to resign.

  • GuestQ

    If you live here, you’ve got him too! And We’ve got him for four years!

    All the next candidate has to say is they are not BB and the election is sealed. People have stopped paying attention to what is happening politically in our county because of BB and his actions. He needs to understand the harm he is doing and step down. He is no long working for the residents of the county and that is what he promised. Step down Brian! Stop making our county politics a joke.

  • Guest zento

    You might not have gotten “what” you but you sure as hell got “who” you voted for so deal with it!!

  • Disguted by the Berger/Goolsby union

    After publicly denouncing Berger and calling for his resignation, Goolsby is TAKING HIS MONEY AND REPRESENTING HIM IN COURT!!!! This is the most disgusting display of PARTISAN POLITICS ANY OF US HAVE EVER WITNESSED!!!! Who is looking out for the best interests of NHC?? Certainly not a Senator who is only interested in his financial gain and helping a clearly unqualified and deranged County Commissioner to keep his seat. Our “Senator” is helping to absolve Brian Berger of any punishment for clearly breaking the law. I say let’s get rid of both of these radical politicians who are only interested in feathering their own nests.

    The Republican party has been high-jacked by the Tea Party. This must stop.


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