FIRST ON 3: Berger ‘wasn’t expecting to be ambushed’ as commission pulls him from community boards

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Submitted: Fri, 12/16/2011 - 4:59am
Updated: Fri, 12/16/2011 - 8:20pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioners have removed Commissioner Brian Berger from most of the community boards he sits on. The Commission made the decision at its Agenda Briefing this afternoon. It’s still pending an official vote at Monday’s County Commission meeting.

Berger said he was shocked by what happened and felt ambushed by his fellow commissioners.

“This clearly was not about policy. It was about a personal slight,” Berger said. “That’s just a horrible reflection on the County Commission that the other commissioners would put their personal animosities ahead of the citizens of the county.”

Berger remains on the Legion Sports Complex Commission and the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Advisory Committee. Commissioner Jason Thompson pointed out both of those bodies include another county commissioner.

“We’ve had multiple discussions about his behavior, about the way his behavior reflects on this board,” Thompson said after the meeting. “And then I know certain boards have talked to him like they’ve talked to us saying, ‘You are gonna have to take him off of here, because he’s not effective.'”

Berger was clearly upset that he was removed from most of the boards he was part of, including CFPUA, DSS, Wilmington Downtown Inc. and Smart Start of New Hanover County. Berger said the leaders of the boards from which he was removed would speak to how effective he’s been to those groups. Thompson disagrees.

“Two chairmen of two of the boards and multiple members of the boards contacted me directly asking for Mr. Berger to be removed, because he’s not effective, he’s not prepared. He shows up late, if he shows up at all,” Thompson said. “If they’re going to get a commissioner, they want to get one that will get something done, and they don’t feel like he’s the one.”

We tried to contact the heads of the groups Berger was pulled from. CFPUA’s Jim Quinn said he would not comment on Berger’s involvement, and that the decision to remove him from the CFPUA was up to the County Commission.

“Clearly it’s the decision of the commissioners,” WDI Executive Director John Hinnant said. “We look forward to seeing who they appoint. Brian was good and active when he showed up, but WDI wants someone who can make all the meetings.”

Berger said he missed several WDI meetings because they conflicted with the DSS meetings. Commissioners decided instead of Berger being part of WDI, they would appoint a county staff member as their representative.

Complaints about Berger’s attendance record are nothing new. He routinely has been late to County Commission and other meetings. Berger arrived just after today’s Agenda Briefing started, but in time for the discussion and votes about representation on commissions and boards.

Following the discussion, Commission Chair Ted Davis asked Berger if he planned to challenge the unofficial decisions at Monday night’s meeting. Berger said he didn’t know why he should bother if the other commissioners were just going to vote against him.

“They’ve ambushed me 4-1, just as they have since I was elected,” Berger said after the meeting. “There’s no point in fighting something out when the outcome is already certain to be 4-1.”

Davis decided that for now the assignments would be placed on the commission’s consent agenda Monday as originally planned.

The move to remove Berger from the community groups comes three weeks after Berger was arrested for a second time this year. Berger was arrested just before Thanksgiving after he attended a Community Action Inc. meeting, which violated a protective order his ex-girlfriend took out on him. Heather Blaylock is a Head Start teacher and works at the Community Action Inc. building. Berger is due back in court next month on the violation charge.

He was arrested in June after a fight with Blaylock. An assault charge was later dropped.

Police also responded to Berger’s home in August after Blaylock called 911 and reported Berger had threatened suicide. In the wake of that incident, fellow commissioners held a news conference calling for Berger to resign. In his own news conference later that week, he refused to resign and blamed the other commissioners for using his personal problems for their political gain.


  • Stright Shooter says:

    It is this hog wash, smoke and mirrors, complete and utter lies that helped to elect this wack-job! Berger has been nothing more than an interruption and an embarrissment to this county. Berger must GO!

  • Guest461 says:

    They ALL need to be replaced!
    The Berger diversion tactic is getting old anyway. Don’t worry Barfield, Thompson, Davis and Caitlin…WE won’t forget what you’ve done no matter how hard you try to keep the spotlight off of you!!!

  • Justin LaNasa says:

    Sad state of government, when folks like Barfield, Thompson, and Catlyn have to Gang up on a fellow commissioner. Maybe their crooked and he’s not! Thompson and Barfield intimidated voters into voting for the sale taxes 2010 in-fear of losing their jobs so they could balance the budget and keep all their high payed friends sitting in the green.Thompson and Catlyn love to take the city’s & county’s contracts;IE(jobs) and make allot off our taxes payer by biding low on the contract then raising the price to normal or higher amounts.(and this is the process for all their cronies and friends to keep getting all the work)The really sad issue here is not how crooked these folks are. It’s no one is doing anything about it! Do not be Scared!

  • Guest20 says:

    Yet again Brian Berger is in complete, total denial that anything is his own fault. I’ve been saying this for months and months, but I’ll say it again….R-E-S-I-G-N!

  • straight shooter 2 says:

    Our pathetic county commissioners are at it again. I like how Berger votes but he needs to get himself right. Having said that, let’s not forget the self dealing of the likes of Barfield and Davis. They would like him gone as would Thompson and Catlin so he can’t force the transparency they do not want and clearly fear! We have Titan and higher taxes to contend with because these four self righteous hypocrites are out primarily for enriching themselves. Attacks on Berger with regret divert attention from the way these slimy politicos seek to help themselves and their cabal rather than serve us.
    Let’s rid ourselves of Barfield and Davis next year- and send self righteous Catlin a message by supporting a democrat for the new house seat.

  • Sad says:

    It’s obvious if you’ve watched any of the televised board meetings he has attended — his questions fall into one of two categories:

    1. Rehashed/reworked comments which restate a question or comment already made by someone else.

    2. An original comment/question which comes from outer-space and makes me wish he had just asked something in the first category.

    The pilot light has blown out on this guy’s water heater.

  • Guest461 says:

    Must be. Berger has made his mistakes, but at least he isn’t a good-ol-boy, self seving pansy like the other four goons you elected! Things are about to change in this county and it has NOTHING to do with a teaparty! You can bet your socks on that one!

  • Guest28451 says:

    99% (yes said for a reason) of Tea Party folks are not mental head cases like Berger. We the 99% of the tea party are sick and tired of politicans forgetting who the heck pays their salaries and who have to pay the bills they run up. They worry more about maintaining power and pork barrel spending then doing what they should be concerned with which is meeting the requests of the people who elected them and speaking for them instead of their own self-serving needs.. Meanwhile lets see the OWS crowd you talk abotu nut cases.. Lets see multiple accounts of sexual assaults, indecent exposure, drug dealing and possession, outright destruction of public property, failing to abide by any sense of common decency or respect for the law in general(especially with their latest ATTACKS on US ports if anything the OWS crowd better becareful that new law they snuck into the DOD budget means US Citizens can now be denied Habeus Corpus for suspicion of terrorist activites) which means no trial no nothing your hauled off and locked up without any civil rights except 3 meals a day and a 8X8 cell potentially at Gitmo..

    On that subject is anybody besides me bothered by this. That both the Republicans and Democrats passed this amendment to allow US Citizens to be denied basic civil rights?? This is something out of the 1930s in Nazi Germany or the embarassment of the Internment camps of the Japanese during WWII.. Im all for dealing with terrorist believe me but it seems we’re more focused on destroyed the constitution and molesting little old ladies and children in the airports then we are about properly focusing on likely terror suspects because we’re too busy afraid to offend and piss off CAIR which has been shown to be a puppet group for the Muslim Brotherhood and a cousin to Hezbollah itself.. Besides last time I checked the underwear bomber dude got on a plane outside the US when he tried to blow the plane up not in the US so whos to blame there somebody’s security not ours..

  • GuestKenny says:

    After what has gone on with Berger, what does he expect?

  • ldjones930 says:

    Well, if Berger will not resign and vacate his seat, then stripping him of a majority of his duties will suffice until re-election time.

  • Jane Doe says:

    The citizens of New Hanover weren’t expecting their newly elected official to be a nut job. Come on Mr. Berger….your actions warrant this type of call to action.

  • Realist says:

    Oh but New Hanover did know (or should have known). The “Tea Party” mentality that elected people like Berger is revealing itself to the voters. Electing nut jobs, whose only claim to fame is; they are outside the “political” circle and have wild ideas that will save-the-world, is causing gridlock and confusion from New Hanover county to Washington, DC
    The question is, have we (the voters) learned anything?

  • sick of it says:

    Early on I felt sorry for this guy, but every time he opens his mouth he digs the hole deeper. How dare he continue to defend the indefensible? He is late, he gets arrested, he violates a protective order, he is unprepared, and he fails to participate…..c’mon man, cut the nonsense.

  • guest111 says:

    Seems like after Ted Davis got on the commission they all developed a bit of a back bone. It’s WAY past time to get rid of Berger. This is a great FIRST step!

  • Hhhmn says:

    Well, only three more years of this to go.

  • Here we go again says:

    Get ready for all the posts from the Cheeto Coalition defending Berger.They’re just getting ready to go get their handouts from DSS and unemployment. Throw him out!

  • Carol Kramer says:

    Does anyone know how much extra compensation comes with sitting on each of the community boards? Is there a financial angle to this story?

  • Straight Shooter says:

    The people of this county have made it very clear, they are not happy with your service and electing you was a BIG mistake! Do the right thing, resgn! Go get you some help! Go get you a job! Just leave!

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