WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioners were expected to talk trash today, but by the end of their meeting, the trash talk was aimed at one of their own.
The commission agenda included talking again about Covanta taking over the old WASTEC facility, but it was Commissioner Brian Berger’s absence that caused a real stink.
Commissioners knew they’d have one empty seat at Monday’s meeting; the one that used to belong to Ted Davis, who recently resigned to take a seat in the state legislature. They thought they might have another, because Commissioner Jason Thompson just had surgery. But it turned out to be another chair that wound up empty.
“As of this morning, I called the chairman just to make sure they didn’t need me, and he said Commissioner Berger hadn’t even picked up his package as of this morning over at the county offices, and looked like he wasn’t going to show,” Thompson said.
Berger was once again a no-show. That meant Thompson had to be called in to have a quorum.
“I don’t look the part today,” said Thompson, who wore a jogging suit and appeared not to have shaved. “I’m not feeling well obviously. But you know, you got to do the people’s business even when you don’t want to. Today I didn’t want to, but here I am.”
We went by Berger’s house and found his Jeep outside, but at the door, there was no answer.
Although Berger has had trouble with attendance in the past, this is still surprising to Chairman Jonathan Barfield, as Berger had just last month asked for more responsibility.
“What more can I say?” Barfield said. “You know, Commissioner Berger wanted to be appointed to some of Commissioner Davis’s boards at this meeting here, and the fact that he wasn’t even here to vote on some of those issues. There’s not anymore that can be said.”
So the commissioners moved forward without Berger.
“I said upfront, ‘I’m sick of it,'” Thompson said. “And, you know, maybe my pain threshold is a little high today, so I said more than I normally would, but that’s what you get, and if you don’t like it, show up to a damn meeting and be here and vote.”
“Those that are voting for elected officials need to take a strong look at those folks who you’re voting for and make sure that they have the ability to represent you and your interests,” Barfield said.
We’ve tried to reach Berger today for comment. He has not responded.