ONLY ON 3: Recuperating Thompson attends commission meeting as Berger pulls another no-show

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Submitted: Mon, 10/15/2012 - 8:56pm
Updated: Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:18pm

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.


  • SurfCityTom says:

    perhaps Mr. Berger has no phone. He likely makes too much as a County Commissioner to qualify for one of those free Obamaphones issued by

    With the advent of cell phones, the phone company has virtually removed all phone booths. Likely not one within walking or driving distance from the Dock street residence.

    Personally, I had some type of viral distress on Tuesday; I still had to get out and up to New Bern to investigate some suspected misdeeds.

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

    Politicians, on the other hand either woos out or get an overweight CNN moderator to abuse the opposing candidate in a debate.

    On another note, the “Sounds of Silence” are becoming deeper from the ballpark proponents. Maybe Terry and Dukie have learned silence is golden.

  • Vog46 says:

    It is MY County Commissioners we’re talking about here so I have every right NOT to be fair.

    All kidding aside
    Dukie (Chuck Kuebler) has been relegated to the Star News Online blogs to defend the pro side position – where he is summarily being dispatched to the fiery depths of h________.

    you should of course sign up and take part
    (WWAY moderation takes way too long. In the SNO blogs posting is immediate)


  • Vog46 says:

    What a comedy of errors our County Commission has turned out to be.
    The ongoing saga of Brian Berger is bad enough.
    Then we had Chairman Davis being appointed – which, in effect, vacated the seat for “only” one or two meetings
    Then we had a chairman put in place by votes from the opposition party?
    Then the GOP nominates a Brunswick County resident to fill Davis’ seat.
    (Is that considered exporting jobs?)
    Now we all of these shortcomings come together when a legitimate excuse takes another commissioner out of a meeting and Berger’s a no show in addition to the continued unfilled seat of Davis.
    First point – Berger’s failure to notify Chairman Barfield is inexcusable, whether it is required or not. A common courtesy would be to call in especially knowing that Davis seat is empty which Berger did know.
    Second – I saw nothing on the agenda that could not be delayed.
    Third – a special meeting COULD be called due to the empty seats at that nights meeting.
    Finally – for some odd reason I get suspicious when a CCer shows up in obvious distress claiming that although he didn’t feel like it, he had to do the peoples business.
    A nice sentiment, but it smacks of grandstanding to me. I was waiting for him to hit a walk off home run or score a last minute touchdown. It seemed to be a perfect highlight film opportunity and Jason played it to the hilt.
    I’m always suspicious of things like this. If a doctor said stay home and rest, then he should have, the same goes for Berger as well.

    But, overall? Chairman Barfield SHOULD have rescheduled to give both Berger and Thompson time to recuperate. An occasional re-scheduling is not a bad thing when you have headline grabbing hounds like Berger and Thompson on the same quorum.


  • Citizen of the Republic says:

    but thank God he’s no Katherine Moore.

  • Sonya says:

    I seem to recall Berger saying that Thom’s legal fees bankrupted him and I seem to recall Thom saying “justice had been done”…tea party patriots. Sick of em all.

  • Guester says:

    You say, “Berger’s failure to notify Chairman Barfield is inexcusable, whether it is required or not.” but then you proceed to try to excuse his absence by saying there wasn’t anything urgent on the agenda. That doesn’t matter! He works for me as well as you. Anyone working for me needs to call me if they can’t show up for work. Period.

    I agree that Chairman Barfield could have rescheduled IF Berger let him know he wasn’t going to be there, but that is a moot point as Berger decided to just “skip” the meeting for whatever reason.

  • Guestttttttttt says:

    Soooo….. Has anyone found our commissioner yet???? Or still m.i.a.???

  • Straight Shooter says:

    We must contact and push our local delegation to find a way to remedy this colossal mistake from our board of commissioners! Only then will we be able to return some sanity to the board!

  • SouthEastNC says:

    Shouldn’t be a problem with Davis and Catlin both going to the House. Goolsby though – not sure since Berger is/was his client.

  • ChefnSurf says:

    On Oct 8th WWAY posted a piece titled “Evicted from home, questions arise about Berger’s residency”. Now one week later WWAY says “we went by Berger’s house and found his Jeep outside”.

    Maybe I missed something WWAY. Have you, since then, confirmed his residency or did you just post a “Berger story” at that time to dovetail in with your piece on Melissa Gott’s residency question.

    Hey, I not a big Berger fan but something seems more than a little conflicted between these two stories. Perhaps some clarification on your part would be helpful at this time.

  • Scott Pickey says:

    ChefnSurf – we THINK he lives at 8th and Dock – although he’s never personally confirmed it. His Jeep is parked out in front – and we’ve seen him drive by a couple of times trying to avoid us – so you’re right – it’s a strong assumption he lives there.


    Scott Pickey
    WWAY News Director

  • Guesttttttt says:

    Has the media or other commissioners heard from berger at all??

  • Guester says:

    Goolsby & Berger are buds. I imagine he must have defended him pro bono – I didn’t think Berger had much cash on hand.

  • GuestMan. says:

    he’s more like Spence or Hamilton.

  • GuestReality says:

    If he can’t make the meetings and properly represent the citizens of New Hanover County, then he should resign so that we can get someone in there who can.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    he might not have the funds to gas up his jeep or cover bus fare?

    Or, perhaps he has a real job now.

  • SouthEastNC says:

    Oh yeah, I’m sure this was a genius strategic move on Brian’s part.

  • GuestReality says:

    Why should it be “wishful thinking” for voters to expect a County Commissioner to show up for meetings? That’s part of the job.

  • Carol Kramer says:

    I agree. By not showing up, Brian was able to stall the race to approve WASTEC. Has everyone forgotten who Brian was running against in the last election? Depending upon the options in 2014, Brian may be my pick again.

  • B M says:

    Berger probably did his supporters a favor by not showing up, quite possibly saving the taxpayers zillions of dollars by presenting a stalemate, the way that board of commisioners works new hanover needs to kick them all to the curb next go around except Berger, strange as he acts, he seems to be the only one there that represents the taxpayers.

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    SurfCity, This Berger does not have the capability to flip a Burger. Fact is, he is unemployable. Totally useless. I have not since he was elected, felt he was capable in his claims of expertise. It would be an insult to the people who work everyday in the fast food industry to include Berger as one of their peers. I will continue to be one of his biggest critics. I can’t wait to hear the whopper of a lie forthcoming from him regarding his absence from this meeting. I suppose he was on a secret mission for the CIA or something of the like.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    as there is no means available for his removal from office other than voluntary resignation (that’s not likely to happen); conviction of a felony (that may be lurking out there over his acceptance of unemployment benefits when he was receiving a Commissioner’s income); or his death.

    Now I have never seen him walk the street; so I am uncertain as to whether he looks before he crosses.

    And there Guest, you have Reality.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    on your part. He can not afford to walk away from the $18,000 or so he receives as a Commissioner.

    Maybe someone should clue him in — they are hiring at most fast food restaurants.

  • jedi1975 says:

    Isn’t there some standard (or even a loop hole) where the other board members can force a drug test on this guy. Burgers actions are that of an addict.

  • guest user says:

    Maybe there was an iCarly marathon on Nickelodeon and that’s why Berger missed the meeting. Really glad to see Jason call Berger out on this. Remember, friends don’t let friends vote straight ticket Republican because you never know when another Brian Berger will pop up.

  • OUCH says:

    I am so tired of Berger not taking his job serious. No one need to call him out on these issues because he is doing this all by himself. Why is he still there? I sure would like to know, because it seems that anyone with that much work baggage should have been gone a long time ago. How much more of this does he need to dish out before he is replaced?

  • Ken says:

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Commissioner Brian Berger’s seat on he Board was won by a majority in a legal election based on the campaign he ran. Well the voters got what they voted for so learn from this experience not to believe anything a politician says if he/she says it while his/her lips are moving.

  • Guest321 says:

    First of all I work with kindergarten and I do not believe in all the years of teaching I have ever seen children act this way let alone grown men. Barfield and Thompson have always been buddies and will always cover each others behind. Barfield while I agree he does appear to have issues has no one on that board to cover his behind!! I don’t excuse his actions but really do I have to read about his personal issues every day discussed to the media by his fellow board members. I WOULD LIKE TO VOTE ALL OF YOU OUT AND START FRESH!!!! ALL OF YOU HAVE BEEN A POOR MODEL FOR ANYONE WATCHING THIS CIRCUS!

  • GuestX says:

    I just hope at the end of the next election,the people get rid of both of Barfield and Berger.Like two kids,one brings up the others faults to hide his own.The bottom line is one isnt qualified to do the job and the others simply doesnt have the peoples best interest in mind.Bergers faults dont need to be highlighted by Barfield everytime it happens,the press is doing a good at letting the people know whats going on.I dont remember voting Barfield into the town crier’s postion.

  • Guest9875 says:

    I would like to thank Mr. Thompson for at least coming in…after having a medical reason to be excused he stepped up to the plate for the people of New Hanover County. THANK YOU. As far as Mr. Berger being a “no show”…let’s just all be honest here…..are we really surprised? When you decide to run for ANY political office your personal life gets a little more attention than most…and he has certainly had his share. Be that as it may…he still has a DUTY to hold the position for which he was VOTED into. Like it or not….we are stuck with him until a new election votes him OUT!

  • Truthseeker says:

    Barfield is just a fat bully. He needs to be on council about as much as Berger does and one is mentally challenged and the other feeding his pockets. I have 3 days to early voting and Barfield count me as no!

  • Guest1313 says:

    Time to go Brian. I don’t care if you were sick, with it coming out of both ends, the fact that Commissioner Thompson came after having surgery just so the meeting could continue says leaps and bounds about his dedication. I am in no way a huge fan of Jason, but there is no question of his dedication. As for Barfield’s comments he has every right to call out Berger. How many times has Berger talked about how many more meetings he attends and how great his attendance record is compared to the other commissioners? Elected or not, if you no call/no show to ANY job, you don’t have that job anymore.

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