FIRST ON 3: Commission chair asks Berger to resign; Berger says no

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Submitted: Sat, 03/23/2013 - 3:59am
Updated: Sun, 03/24/2013 - 11:25pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A familiar name is back in the news, and those close to him believe he is becoming desperate.

At a news conference this afternoon, the chair of the New Hanover County Commission echoed an earlier e-mail and called for Commissioner Brian Berger to resign. White says it came after a series of strange behavior by Berger, including an encounter with the governor yesterday.

In a phone conversation with WWAY this afternoon, Berger said he has no plans to quit.

“If Woody, Beth (Dawson) and Tom (Wolfe) resign, I’ll resign,” Berger said. “Other than that, I’m not going to let the people who got me to run force me to resign and reap the benefits of my sacrifices.”

White says he is concerned about Berger’s well being.


“Over the last 20 days Commissioner Berger has demonstrated an increasing level of irrational and unpredictable behavior, and it’s frightened our staff,” White said. “It’s made us all fell increasingly unsafe.”

The tipping point appears to be a manifesto Berger wrote and has distributed around the community and apparently tried to give to Gov. Pat McCrory during his visit to Wilmington Thursday.


In the document, Berger claims it was illegal for commissioners in late 2011 to remove him from the DSS Board before his term was up. He is still upset deputies removed him from the DSS Board’s next meeting.

Berger also recently has asked the county to reimburse him more than $3,600 for a trip to Washington, DC. County leaders say they won’t, because they did not approve Berger to make the trip.

White also said Berger used county resources to make thousands of copies of his document. Berger reportedly tried to give them out during the conference in Washington.

White says he’s received other strange notes from Berger.

“The writing is different sizes,” White said as he showed reporters a note from Berger written in red marker, “and again this is just one of many things we could show you.”

This is not the first time Berger’s been asked to step down. The previous commission asked Berger to resign in September 2011.

Commissioners can’t make Berger quit, but White says there are other steps they can take.

“One of our options is to look to (NC General Statutes) Chapter 50C and initiate a process to ask a court to give us a restraining order to prevent him from coming around us and our staff,” White said. “The decision has not been made to do that. It has been discussed extensively, and we are consulting with attorneys to determine whether or not we’re going to do that.”

Berger says the county is discriminating against him, and that it has ruined his reputation in Wilmington and beyond.

The governor’s office says McCrory never looked at what Berger gave him yesterday. A spokeswoman said the governor was never in any danger during his visit to Wilmington.


  • Vog46 says:

    I don’t know of any rule/regulation that would apply to this case.
    White asked for Brian’s resignation and Berger refused.
    Can politicians be forced to undergo psychiatric treatment
    without breaking any law?



  • John says:

    Actually, he is not a Republican. He is a Libertarian who could not get elected when he previously ran as a Libertarian. So he switched to the Republican party and unfortunately he got voted into office because people did not do due diligence when he ran a few years ago. While he won’t resign, Democrats and Republicans alike know that Berger will be bounced out of office when he has to run again.

  • John says:

    Don’t you mean that Democrats want to blame Bush for Berger. They blame bush for everything else.

  • GuestReality says:

    The answer to your last paragraph is YES… you? It seems doubtful….either that or you have blinders on.

  • Guest 10101 says:

    My goodness, you actually are playing the straight man! Nice joke about “the people angered by no ball team.” Both of them?

    Speaking of asking “financial dealings” questions, here’s one you should also ask: With his sole source of income coming from being a parasite sucking off of NHC tax monies (Hey Berger, maybe if you didn’t stay up all night, you could at least get a part-time fast food job!) how did he manage to cough up $3000 to go to Washington?

    Also: Just curious … Who of you will be asking questions and which actual officials “outside NHC” will you be asking questions to? (Unless, of course, you didn’t really mean it and were just blowing smoke up some horses behind.)

  • ChefnSurf says:

    I find it disconcerting that NHC spends as much time and treasure on Berger as they do. All of the extra time county employees spend accommodating Berger’s various requests cost tax dollars. A thousand or more copies of personal documents, run off on NHC copiers, costs tax dollars.

    NHC has already reined in Berger’s profligate spending excesses on travel. It’s probably past time to put into place procedures to lessen his (and probably others) excesses that are paid for with our tax dollars as well.

    Just because we’re apparently going to be stuck with Berger for the duration doesn’t mean some damage control can’t be put into place. It’s time for our county leaders to step up and lead. Hey, Berger’s nuts; what’s their excuse?

  • idiotsramongstus says:

    It’s very clear on page 6, second paragraph what he plans to do…Did anybody else read this? I see a clear threat, no doubt about it. He is being pushed around until one day he will show all of us what he is capable of, and then the Monday morning quarter backing can really start…Somebody else recently wrote a manifest, remember??

  • Peyton Garrett says:

    Brian is off his meds again. Had not been in the paper for at least a month so he figured he would have a drink or twelve and jump back in,,,again. Where oh where is that loud mouth, Ben McCoy?

  • Guest28451 says:

    To put this much time and effort while wasting taxpayers money to remove him leads me to believe someone has something to hide.
    They used to complain he did not show up for meetings, now they want a restraining order to keep him away ????

  • OtherGuest says:

    I would pose a simple question:

    It seems there are many dramatic scenarios being strongly suggested by some of the council members.

    If Mr. Berger had made any serious threats or committed any illegal actions, would not the police have been notified and Mr. Berger arrested by now?

  • Guest123 says:

    White has been in office for only 7 weeks, and this is also the first time he has commented on Berger.
    I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how professionally competent and take-charge White has appeared, compared to prior commissioners, in just his first few weeks. We could use more elected officials like him instead of the do-nothing Councilmen, mayor and other and prior commissioners.

    You’re an idiot to make such a baseless comment such as that. “Over many years”??? Three of the five commissioners have only been in office for less than two months for goodness sakes.

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    This is a serious situation. Just take a long look at Mr. Berger’s actions over the past few years, and the pattern is obvious that he has mental health issues. You can talk on here about corruption and all the dumb things our leaders have done, but that really has nothing to do with Berger’s behavior. In most mass shootings, the signs were always there ahead of time! His manifesto speaks of people being wounded or murdered. That is not serious? Considering his restraining order from a former girlfriend, his defense in court calling the restraining order “unconstitutional”, all of his lateness, rambling, driving and arrested for drunk driving, and now this, including banging on the windows of the governor of North Carolina security vehicles, all the signs are there. However, speaking out against a person like this in public by his colleagues, only angers him further. I don’t know how this will end, but this is serious!

  • Guestfacy says:

    Hey Wanda – did your law firm represent Cobvantra. Did your husband have any financial relationship with Covantra?
    Shame on you-Berger may have issues but so the heck so you. Wilmington politics is vulgar and corrupt. lets look at White Dawson, amoroso, caster , criner, Berger and Hamilton. FBI needs to investigate the political corruption it goes way beyond a commissioner who has forced transparency. Caster and hire stink, amoroso has conflictsvandvsuzy what about your rental of your house. You should ALl resign.

  • Guestof wind says:

    What they ought to do is put a restraining order on him barring him from using any county facility or attending meetings in person. Revoke all of his privileges and powers. He can view the meetings online and continue to use the intranet system/email from home. It really isn’t that complicated, if you can’t get rid of him then rid him ineffective due to mental reasons and restrict his access. Clearly he lacks character and the humility to just resign. So resign him, allow the Sheriff to vote in his spot. The sheriff was elected by the people. Give the sheriff a temporary authority in situations like this. Put out a petition for the citizens to sign for his removal. Once completed remove him. Then hold an election for a new commissioner. It’s embarrassing that our county government continues to drop the ball, and escalate the situation, by knowing not what to do. They are trying to protect themselves legally rather than do the common sense thing, and protect county employees first most physically. If you have someone showing signs of mental illness and threatening behavior you deal with it by either removing them or yourself. You don’t just let them hang around and continue on and on and on. The time for appeal is over, now its time for action.

  • concerned says:

    This is a serious situation. The pattern of Mr. Berger’s actions the last few years are typical of mental health issues. From the restraining order against him by a former girlfriend, his defense in court that the order was “unconstitutional”, his “fake” suicide attempt, his ramblings and lateness to county meetings, his drunk driving arrest, and now this “manifesto” which speaks of people being wounded or murdered, are all signs this man needs help, now. The problem is, he is delusional, thus can not see that. And his colleagues speaking out against him makes him feel isolated and more angry. I don’t know how this will end, but pray it will not end up being a story on the national news.

  • Guesttoo says:

    Brian Berger

    Woody White

    This is what happens when people absolve themselves of thinking and press that little straight party ticket thingy.

    Same thing happens on the other side of the aisle too.

  • Tracie C says:

    Why is it ANY member of our elected body isn’t showing a little CLASS? Man, way to make this city look completely ridiculous. Thanks politicos and REALLY many thanks to all the idiots that keep voting these morons in.

  • Jean Stringer says:

    Berger clearly needs to resign. No argument here. But whey call it his ‘Manifesto”? Why is it that the media dusts off this loaded word whenever someone who is in disrepute publishes or distributes writings?

  • GatesRdown says:

    It’s one thing to ride the little yellow bus, it’s another to be the guy licking the windows.

    I’m not making fun of his mental health, but it’s obvious there is no one in his life that is capable of talking him into resigning and he isn’t capable of recognizing his own double-speak and psuedo-psycho babble.

  • jason says:

    Hang it up Berger. It’s time to go. You need to seek Help. Like the Honorable Woody White, and the GOP have asked you to resign. Live up to your OATH when you took office as a Commissioner. Read the Code of Ethics, and abide by it. You are just making more of a a.. about you. Please take Mr. White up on his offer to get you some help. You have already thrown your reputability away, don’t throw what you have left away. You do have friends, please take their advise. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and tomorrow is another day. The citizens of North Carolina are tired of hearing you crying alligator tears. If you don’t do it for anyone else, do it for yourself!

  • OtherGuest says:

    As I follow this comment string, I see that the mob is being whipped into a frenzy.

    I am not surprised, it is exactly the way things seem to be going in our society.

    Do any of those commenting really know the particulars of Mr. Berger’s actions and whether they were inappropriate or truly threatening in any way?

  • SouthEastNC says:

    Please come to the Republican party convention tomorrow and help make sure none of the boobs who brought us this guy are able to gain any more traction in the party.

    10:00 AM at the County Courthouse.

  • RSimmons says:

    We have all watched this scenario unfold on the news before. The only question remains is who will he take with him?

  • straightman says:

    His conduct is contemptuous–and his hypocrisy blatent. Are some of the people who are angered by no ball team or sweetheart deals with Titan or Covantra- concerned about Berger forcing transparency?
    In the opinion of some – some of these folks starting with WHite stink to the high heavens- maybe Berger should go— but this gang up over many years is easy to see through. Lets look at the financial dealings of some of these folks—-do they or do they not raise questions.
    He has some questions to answer but so do some others– and some of us will be asking officals outside NHC to investigate— this gang up and twisting of some facts sucks

  • George Brooks says:

    I hear that Susan Prater has been helping Brian Berger write his manifesto, with additional help from the Ted K. in Florence, Colorado.

    At least Susan was trying to get some money from her bowl of beans,

    Brian, is just nuts!

  • GuestVader says:

    Thank goodness Berger is a Republican or Obama would be blamed for him, too.

  • Guest2020 says:

    Mr. White claims that Mr. Berger was a threat to the governor. What exactly did Mr. Berger do that rises to the level of a threat? According to the governor’s office there was no threat during the governor’s visit.

    As a citizen I find it disturbing that county commissioners would even consider the use of restraining orders to keep a duly elected official from performing the duties he was elected to do.

    In my personal opinion and without ever having met the man, Mr. Berger seems to be at least exhibiting symptoms of depression. Not knowing much about other mental issues, I cannot comment further, but it is clear that he is having some personal issues that seem to be affecting his ability to perform his duties and should have resigned when they first started.

    Still, I cannot condone what Mr. White is proposing to do. It sets a disturbing precedent that makes a mockery of our election process and opens the door for abuse by our elected officials. If someone can find a lawful way of removing Mr. Berger from office, then so be it. Just don’t do an end run around the law to get your way.

  • Guest 4792 says:

    Please read the “manifesto”

  • Guest55 says:

    I’d rather have Soles here on the Commission than Berger. At least Soles got stuff done.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    forget his personal challenges.

    Throughout his political career, SEnator Soles was one of the most effective legislators in either house.

    He spread state bacon throughout his district.

    What has his replacement accomplished?

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    Another Democrat success story.

  • Guest4792 says:

    Ummmmm, I hate to burst your bubble but Berger was a Tea party candidate

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    Way to go…another liberal anti-gun cupcake who thinks someone else is responsible for defending you….ya hoo!!!!

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    another liberal pansy that doesn’t know when it’s a good idea to protect yourself. What an idiotic comment……

  • Jim Thomas says:

    Thank you, Susan, for a kind, compassionate posting.

  • Susan Craig says:

    Please get this poor tormented soul some mental health assistance.
    Does Wilmington need to be another headline story of tragedy with months and years of preliminary signs? Listen up folks, this is not about politics, it is about helping those in crisis. Has anyone reached out to his family? Brian needs compassion and mental health treatment not ridicule.

  • tlbpeanuts says:

    I highly doubt that Berger will listen to White or anyone asking him to resign.

  • Guest46997 says:

    Another Tea Party success story

  • Guestyougo says:

    You vote this clown in just like the one’s in Washington. You wanted him and you have him.

    Berger, hang in there. You were elected by the people just like the others. Just because they don’t like you is not a reason to leave..

  • Guest 10101 says:

    anyone who’s still behind Berger is an undereducated village idiot. Your inability to clearly see the Berger situation for what it currently has morphed into speaks volumes about the stupidity of the few fools still willing to suppport him.

    On the other hand, the very fact that our county commissioners have waited this long to speak out also speaks volumes about their inability to be effective leaders.

    Is there no one left in Wilmington / NHC capable of leading?

  • Mr.T says:

    Chairman Bill Sue removed Mr. Warren from a meeting because of his constant interruption of a meeting. Could the New Hanover chairman White declare Berger a threat to the safety of the board given the fact that he willfully breached the security of a ranking state official. Given Bergers action isn’t he a serious interruption any time he attends a meeting.
    Berger seems capable of violent action based on his behavior. Do the commissioners have to wait until he finally crosses the line and hurts someone or himself before they can act? Just asking!

  • Karen B says:

    Berger is now presenting threats and in writing. I would suggest that all who enter City Council Meetings, do so armed.

  • Sandy says:

    way to go…another redneck gun toten idiot who thinks violence is the answer…ya hoo!!!!!!!!

  • TheJerkStoreCalled says:

    Minus the raw masculinity and social savvy of course – but they are both international sex symbols. One would think the governor’s security detail and sheriff’s deputies at County functions should be sufficient to deal with the menacing presence that is Brian Berger. But I’m sure they know things about him that I don’t. Since he’s a Republican, the White House might loan out SEAL Team Six’s Red Squadron for Commissioners Meetings if they don’t want to be too careful.

  • Angewidert says:

    you’re just being stupid. Can ya help me?

  • Guest Reply says:

    It would be Hilarious if all the accusations Berger has made in time, about political corruption of the Powers That Be, were actually found out “down the road” to be 100% accurate…and the Powers That Be are twisting it all around in their favor to make Berger look like a mental case. Maybe that’s what it takes to expose some politicians for what they really are…Corrupt! What’s Berger got to lose…really?
    Makes no difference to me what Berger does and says about his co-politicians…but he’s become a local news media icon…and in a world of political corruption that we live in, I wouldn’t be surprised 1 iota if there’s a ton of truth in what he says.
    I guess it boils down to this…look around at all that our Council has configured over the years that made no sense financially whatsoever…from a $1,000,000,000 bridge…a Baseball field/Convention Center/neglect of roads/sewer system/forced annexation/etc…and here’s a guy (Berger) trying to expose all of that (possibly)…in detail. Touble is…he acts like a Goof Ball in the process.
    Whether it’s honestly only in his mind, by trying to expose corruption he’s trying to bring light to, that may become a dead end street, or it is actually trying to be covered up with Chaos, by a select group…I say Finish the Job for all to see.
    I say, make all of his accusations made Public for us all to see for comparison in way of a 5 hour TV special (Berger Bites)…because that’s what it would take…5 hours with commercials that is!! :-)

  • Straight Shooter says:

    Our county has been thru enough with this A__ Hole! To our county leaders and Republican party leadership, find a way to get rid of this embarrassment!

  • Guestnemesis says:

    I will leave it to professionals to decide if B has mental issues- but this gang up stinks- and the feds or a rico lawsuit might set some people straight.

  • NGMN says:

    In response to two of the comments:

    1. I voted for Mr. Berger since he was republican. I didn’t know much about him but can say that at the time, there was no apparent reason for concern. It stands to reason that no one truly knows how a candidate will really turn out – Mark Sanford of SC, Jesse Jackson, Jr., etc. Regardless of the party, we’re all just as likely to vote for someone who can lose their mind at some point. With that said, just because he was voted in doesn’t mean we lose the right to demand he get out. I admit my mistake and wish he would leave as a matter of integrity (what little he may have).

    2. I absolutely agree in that Mr. Berger will not be resigning. I don’t think he has any other income aside from what he “earns” as a county commissioner.

    County officials should take whatever steps they feel necessary to limit his impact, especially after approaching the governor uninitiated. And then we need to develop and vote on measures to have a way to recall an elected county official.

  • sandy says:

    I have read the documents posted in this article and see no threats or other “risky” behavior by Mr. Berger. In fact, it appears that his has merely attempted to obtain an explanation for his removal from the DSS board (which may in itself have been illegal). It appears that this board is attempting to continue the previous board’s witch hunt against Mr. Berger and I for one, hope he continues his goal of getting answers. I too voted him into office, as I have done for many others. I do not believe we may now vote him or anyone else out of office..doesn’t work that way. So current commissioners, get on with the business you were voted to do and leave Mr. Berger alone. Except to answer his questions! Stop wasting taxpaper time & money on your vendettas and do your jobs. Before we the people start trying to get rid of you..with the same tactics. Mr. White..shame on you. Your job is not to diagnose or evaluate another human being. Stop trying to control everyone and do your job as a commissioner or RESIGN. I am sick of the drama & soap opera tactics of NHCO commissioners..both past and present!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guestinnameonly says:

    Thanks Brian, Back to you Cackie…

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