WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger is back in spotlight.
Berger and Commission Chair Ted Davis, both Republicans, had a heated exchange at this morning’s county commission meeting.
Commissioners adopted a travel policy today, in part, responding to Berger’s attendance issues. The move sparked a back and forth between Berger and Davis.
“I can pull out receipts and show you what I haven’t been reimbursed for and the numbers don’t lie,” Berger said.
“Well, Brian, you’re welcome to do that, and if you would have been at the staff meeting (Thursday), like you should have been, you could have been a part of this discussion. But as usual you weren’t,” Davis responded.
The argument between Davis and Berger seemed to exhaust months of pent-up frustration.
Commissioners adopted a new travel policy that requires commissioners to pay the county back for conference and hotel fees paid and then not used. Davis says Berger has done this a few times.
“All I can say is, Brian, since you’ve come on this board you’re the only person we’ve had this problem with, and we’re going to address it.”
Berger had a different take.
“That’s because other members play golf, and buy golf clubs, and stay at four-star hotels, and I don’t,” Berger said.
Davis quickly responded: “If you’ve got any accusations to make about your fellow commissioners, do me a big favor: identify who it is.”
Berger wasn’t done.
“Don’t make it about me exploiting taxpayers when the opposite is the case,” he said.
The argument continued when Davis questioned Berger about his attendance record. Berger fired back that he has better attendance than Davis, who missed meetings last year recovering from heart surgery.
Either way it was Berger who was late Monday.
“There’s no question that I have time management issues,” Berger said. “I am not going to argue otherwise.”
Berger would not answer whether he plans on paying the county back for the hotels and conferences he has skipped out on.
He says he missed the latest agenda meeting because he was on the phone with government officials about a bribery and extortion case. He would not say who it involved.