WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — High-profile support for New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger is eroding. Rep. Carolyn Justice asked for Berger to resign today, because he broke the law when police say they caught him driving without a valid license. Now it appears he’s also broken his vow to remain transparent to voters.
“This long series of events that followed him have just culminated to this as the last straw for me,” Rep. Justice said.
Justice was the one who swore Berger into office back in December 2010. Now she’s upset that even though he pledged to uphold the law, he is now accused of breaking it. Thursday, a Wilmington Police officer stopped him for speeding and charged him for driving with a revoked license.
“When you swear on a Bible to God and all the people that elected you that you will uphold the law, then you need to do that, and you need to step away from the position you’re in, because it is now done,” Justice said.
Rep. Justice, who first made public her request for Berger to resign Friday morning on The Big Talker FM with Chad Adams, is personally writing the commissioner a letter asking him to step aside. But that’s as far as it will go.
“I’m not looking into any legislation to force him,” Justice said. “I don’t think this should involve that. This is a matter of character. This is a matter of doing what’s right.”
And his character is also in question when it comes to other issues.
Berger has vowed to be transparent and has consistently called for transparency in government, but now he may be part of the very problem he’s been trying to fight.
Thursday, he sent a confidential e-mail to the clerk of the New Hanover County Commission asking for any documents that pertained to him being kicked off local boards. According to the County Attorney, nothing in Berger’s e-mail fell under confidentiality protections. That’s a violation of the public records law.
Add that to his latest legal run-in.
“Constituents already have many reasons to distrust their elected officials,” Justice said. “We already live in a world where people are distrustful when we allow someone to continue on that perpetuates that belief we hurt everybody.”
We found out the state revoked Berger’s driver license because he did not pay a $200 failure to appear charge related to a misdemeanor traffic ticket. We’re told Berger paid that fee yesterday after his traffic stop. The Clerk of Court’s office says Berger also received paperwork to take to the DMV to help get his license back.
The commissioner has not returned our requests for comment.