Commissioners vote to censure Berger, start amotion process

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Submitted: Tue, 04/23/2013 - 3:09am
Updated: Tue, 04/23/2013 - 4:11pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –- New Hanover County Commissioners voted to censure Commissioner Brian Berger Monday. The Board also voted 3-2 in favor of moving forward with an amotion to remove Berger from his post as commissioner.

Amotion means the county has the right to remove an officer that is part of a governing board of a corporation for significant reasons, according to the UNC School of Government.

Chairman Woody White says serving in public office is a privilege, not a right.

“When you take certain actions like he’s done over the last two plus years, that privilege is revocable, and he claims it’s a right he has. He has breached the public trust,” White said.

Not all the commissioners thought filing an amotion against Berger was in the best interest for the county.

Commissioner Jonathan Barfield thinks the decision to remove Berger should be up to the voters, who elected him to his seat.

“It’s also their responsibility to recall those folks if they choose to,” Barfield said.

Barfield voted against the amotion citing his concerns of a potentially lengthy process.

“If this young man decided to sue the county or proceed with a legal matter, this could drag on for months. Before you know it, you’ll be at 2014, when his election term is up,” Barfield said.

Others do not think time is a factor in this case.

“When considering things that are right and wrong, time isn’t an issue there,” White said. “The time it may take to pursue is inconsequential to that.”

Berger issued a statement Monday afternoon that read: “I contest the introduction of the resolution censuring me, New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger. I refute the misleading and false allegations contained in the document.”

Berger has until May 17 to notify the county clerk if he chooses to seek an attorney.

The amotion hearing is set for May 20.

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31 Comments on "Commissioners vote to censure Berger, start amotion process"

2015 years 8 months ago

I don’t see the amotion strategy working. He’s already shot holes in their case with the revelation that their charges concerning hotel expenditures are false.

They criticize him stating he abuses county personnel resources. Seems like the pot is pursuing the same tactic.

Let him retain his position, having been censured, let him vote if he shows up; let him assume a new position in December, 2014 — big cat cage attendant at the Carolina Beach Zoo comes to mind. Golf caddy is another option.

Let him go quietly. But don’t make a martyr out of him; that will just create additional fuel for the media fires. And waste a whole lot of county resources.

Maybe he could head up Barfield’s campaign to run against McInture.

2015 years 8 months ago

But I am struck by the fact that the CC is writing the rules pertaining to the amotion process as they go and although White says it will be held in a legal fashion there is no cross examination allowed during the county amotion hearing.
They seem to be creating a law on the fly and not adhering to legal precedence when in fact they are removing a public official from office.

And I agree about the case – the hotel confirmation that he used the room was devastating to White’s case. Now all they have is repayment of expenses which I think Berger is playing with them on that.

Fun to watch – but embarrassing to me as a NHC resident. According to a family member, this is making news elsewhere in the state – and it’s being “framed” by the lack of a recall election process here.
Curious if you ask me…..


T. W. Duke
2015 years 8 months ago

From my humble Brunswick County point of view…. It seems to be… personal. And a great distraction from the truck load of other issues that might be of more importance. Just a thought.

PS that last time I commented on the Berger thing the moderator choose not to post my comment about “Hitler Kissing Nazi’s”… I go on record as saying I regret nothing.

T.W. Duke

2015 years 8 months ago

One other thought. You said:
“Sit his butt at the end of the bench? I thought that would work. It will not because he will not shut up, he will continue to feed the star news and this link with fodder and will kill more opportunities for this county in the next 2 years. I have heard it from far reaches.”

So now you want to limit his freedom of speech?
I too have heard from someone far away and quite frankly their only concern was how badly Brian would embarrass the Republican party by remaining on the county Commission.
Is this what this has boiled down to? It’s politically embarrassing?
Heck, Sleasely and Smiley were embarrassing enough for the Dems and they were state wide office holders.
Berger is our problem – meaning the voters. His continued presence on the county commission without ANY legal bearing would be constant reminder that voting has consequences and just because someone happens to call themselves by the latest rage political name (Tea Party) doesn’t make them qualified.


2015 years 8 months ago

Ricky is mentally disabled. Shame on you for poking fun at him. He is a super person without one ounce if negativity in his heart or soul…. Please refrain from saying anything negative about Ricky. He cannot help it and sure as heck does NOT deserve it…
Now Justin Lanassa…. HE has no excuse for acting like a complete moron who in front of the public could not even answer simple questions with an educated or grammatically correct answer. I used to work for him before moving to VA. If the public know what a nondrawing DB mean dude he was, they wouldn’t even think of voting for him.. Meeks got more votes than he did anyway.. Be kind to Ricky. Justin gives en90ough laughs to make up for it…

2015 years 8 months ago

I can not disagree with you on this one.

The county comissioners have no idea how this should proceed.

Picture this. The Commissioners present their “facts”.

Berger than presents his facts; and since he will have heard their “case”, he will know exactly how to present counter arguments and his side of the issues. If he’s smart, he leaves his manifesto at home.

I do not believe there is an allowance for the public to present any “testimony”, although I believe it is held as an open hearing.

Then it goes to an impartial, superior court judge who makes a ruling.

Now Judges are elected. Likely will be from another part of the state.

I don’t think a Judge will rule against him unless the County comes up with some new data which will stand up in court.

Guest CommonTater
2015 years 8 months ago

county business is actually being hindered by the existence of Berger aside from the fact that too many resources are being used worrying about this chump? I don’t think so. To let his time run out on the board and possibly work on something to address this type situation legally in the future seems a far wiser use of time and resources to me. “We” need to be very cautious of how folks that are voted in get “pushed” out. Very dangerous power to put in the hands of some of “them”.

Peyton Garrett
2015 years 8 months ago

Speaking of Ben McCoy and his boy Josh Fulton, they have been eerily quiet during all of these proceedings.

I will say though in retrospect, are not the commissioners just implementing a way to bring a means to an end just as the aforementioned did with the baseball fiasco? Just in reverse. the City wanted the baseball deal, the citizens did not. Now the powers that be don’t want Berger and have found a way to circumvent the vote of two years ago although I feel feel it would be quite different today.

I have said it before Berger needs to go. He is remaining I believe, because he has no other financial options. Sit his butt at the end of the bench? I thought that would work. It will not because he will not shut up, he will continue to feed the star news and this link with fodder and will kill more opportunities for this county in the next 2 years. I have heard it from far reaches.

No other way to explain it. It is a big mess. How much more will Berger cost the county in opportunities by sitting at the end of the bench? Time will tell I guess.

2015 years 8 months ago

I would HOPE that the trials and tribulations of Brian Berger are being watched state-wide. Not to embarrass him but as a learning experience for the voters.
I would guess that many would like a recall option for just this circumstance, but no politician would propose it – even in the face of large public support for it.
But this process may get people to thinking about it more and the fact that we elected Berger to office and watched him self destruct means it could happen to anyone in any county and to any elected official. There are many good reasons not to make the process too easy – heck we’d be recalling folks because they voted against ONE bill you or I didn’t like.
But to not have the recall option, to me sound ludicrous on it’s face and takes away a responsibility that is ours to elect, or recall and official who we deem is not doing his job, for whatever reason.


2015 years 8 months ago

Peyton, I don’t think this has anything to do with the ball stadium getting defeated because 3 of the commissioners hadn’t even been elected/appointed when it was defeated. As far as I know all 3 of the new members were against taxpayer funding, unlike Saffo et al.

Re: Josh Fulton….he has very wisely moved to Brunsco.

2015 years 8 months ago

Today we find our hero Woody attempting to rid Gotham of uncooth politicians, snarks and other nefarious fellows. Lets Listen in:

“All rise. The honorable Mr White is now presiding.”
Ladies and gentlemen – I speak before thee of amotion – amotion to censure amotion to remove and otherwise shut up Brian Berger. For he hath brought shame upon the house of White and the hallowed chambers from which we speak. I call on Brothers Barfield, and Wolfe, and Sister Dawson to rid this commission of the bile known as Berger – and I file a motion without emotion to start the amotion process.

To wit the Jolly Jonathan responds:

“I object, and sternly so, that it is you who bring this motion to amotion for I should have done so but failed. Brian is not a felon but a fellow – and a troubled one at that who needs help, a hand in a time of need. We don’t need to send him out to pasture on his steed. I will not vote for the amotion motion but after I finish my Ensure I will surely support a motion to censure.

Sister Dawson Chimes in as the scene fades:
“Just what did these guys say? Tom Wolfe? Did you understand any of it? Tom?????
Camera fades to Mr Wolfe as you hear
“ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – huh? what? Did my Social Security check come in today?”

Tune in at our next meeting when our Chief justice of the local lawyers union rises and Goolsby says “here come da Judge, here come dah Judge…..


2015 years 8 months ago

(a Vog sequel)

And then there arose from the people a great clamor. And they spoke thus with great agitation: “Wherefore hast thou spent our treasure that we have entrusted to thee on such foolishness? Hast thou not read the WWAY posts where some of the wisest amongst us hast said that to wait and to let this demon spend his time in great isolation is a more godly thing ….. for his time will come to an end as doth all things?”

And there was a great fear and a gnashing of teeth amongst the “leaders” because they should not have wasted such treasure that the people had entrusted to them on such a foolishness! And they were sorely afraid and did try to hide behind their laptops and under their desks to no avail!

Gate Keeper
2015 years 8 months ago

Rick Catlin and Bill Saffo fight over the mirror as they comb their hair; Ted Davis wonders what’s for lunch and is it free; Suzy Hamilton saves a green puppy from poverty; RJ Soles and Julia Bozman wonder if they are on the same team since they bat for another; Jason Thompson is still in the parking lot waiting for someone to fight him and Sid Causey yells…Hey big fellow let me hold a dollar!

We truly are blessed with the best!

2015 years 8 months ago
2015 years 8 months ago

Act 1 scene 1 certainly was entertaining. What a disaster this county commission has courted. It will be interesting to see where this goes. I assume the commissioners believe that Brian Berger does not have the faculties to mount a defense and take this to court; that the amotion proceeding will remove him and they will be done with it. While I agree that Mr. Berger is ineffective as a county commissioner, his non-presence at meetings only makes it easier for
the “gang of three” to push their agenda through. The question, “How does anyone raise $125,000 to run for a county commission seat?” is now coupled with “why would a commission spend so much time, effort, and taxpayer dollars to remove a commissioner?” Someone needs to investigate what contracts are restricted from the public and that only a county commissioner is entitled to. Something is rotten in Denmark, folks.

2015 years 8 months ago

I nominate Surf City Tom for the position of Manager/Trustee/Caretaker for this County Commission. He should be provided with two Kevlar business suits, an armed chauffeur and a cattle prod in place of the ceremonial gavel. Vog, I would have called on you to do this but you are going to be too busy after you become Wilmington’s next mayor.

2015 years 8 months ago

The whole thing hinges on time frame.
A judge will make the final decision the question is when?
An early decision makes this sordid affair retreat in our memories.

Personally I think this drags on for quite some time and White and the local GOP pay a price at the polls – the question is how bad will it get?
White made a mistake. He should have stopped at censure.

But we have been foolish at the polls before and nothing surprises me anymore.


Rick Wilson
2015 years 8 months ago

What is rotten is that Woody white feels entitled to hand pick another Commissioner. I can only wonder if his campaign contributors are getting impatient and he feels he needs a 4 to 1 margin to do their bidding.
The voters will decide Brain Berger’s fate is less than 2 years, as it should be. What this shows is how much of a leader that Woody White is NOT……..This removal process will be yet another colossal waste of tax payer money by so called public servants…………..Grab your wallets and lock your doors, the fox is in charge of the hen house!

2015 years 8 months ago

Y’all are killing me. I mean literally. I have a cold and laughed so hard it choked me up really bad. Keep it coming!!!!!

2015 years 8 months ago

You guys are on your game this morning, in more ways than one. Your posts are very well written, entertaining and right on point. Why waste the county taxpayer’s money on something that could run on until the next election. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, IGNORE HIM. If he doesn’t show up for meetings, so what. His vote does not stop the show. Please don’t add to the foolishness!!

2015 years 8 months ago

I never thought I would ever agree with anything that Barfield had to say, but I agree with him on this. It is the people who put Berger in office. It should be the people who remove him. I agree that Berger should go, but having an elected board to decide to remove an elected member of said board, just opens up the floodgates for abuse. If they want laws that put a process in place for the people to remove an elected official, then go about doing that. Lobby for a bill to be introduced in Raleigh and push to have it go through. Don’t arbitrarily decide to oust an elected official. It should be a process that is left up to the voters.

2015 years 8 months ago

Barfield seems to be the only person on that board that understands the PEOPLE elected Berger and only the PEOPLE have a right to remove him, otherwise a board can sit back and kick everyone off one by one until they get a bunch of “buddies” on these boards and then screw the voter, we know better than them!!!! Kinda like Saffo runs the town!

Straight Shooter
2015 years 8 months ago

Where is the process to remove this mistake? Because most of us want him gone!

2015 years 8 months ago

Between Vog and Gate Keeper I am sitting here with a much needed laugh for late Monday afternoon. Do you guys collaborate on your comments? The remark about Jason almost made me laugh out loud. . actually I think I did. Funny stuff!

2015 years 8 months ago

the Commissioners, themselves, do not have the authority to unilaterally remove him from office.

It’s a multi-step process; at the end of which a Superior Court Judge will issue an order dismissing the Amotion or approving his removal.

Even should he choose not to contest the action, it is still some months away before he could be removed.

Meanwhile, has either party identified an electable candidate who can be effective on the Commission in 2014?

2015 years 8 months ago

Justin LaNassa
Rickey Meeks
Ben McCoy
Josh Fulton
Sid Causey
Jason Thompson………

They will run the county by online petitions for every decision they make – with Sid and Jason providing the muscle to get people to sign said petitions.
Rickey and Justin are their for comic relief and the occasional serious business………

And actually Tom it’s too early.
White will appoint a replacement for Berger – IF – the removal is successful and – IF – it happens before the next election.
Politics is fun at the local level with these types of shennanigans going on. What bothers me though is the total lack of concern anyone has for the public vote and how little they cherish the public dollars they will spend on this. Woody White is doing irreparable harm to the local GOP by going overboard on Berger. Censure? Great idea. Using a county attorney to start the amotion process? Not so much…..


dean bailey
2015 years 8 months ago

as a long time libertarian since 1982, as of monday the april 22 im no longer one, i jump ship.

2015 years 8 months ago

But if I am going to ascend to a throne it needs to be the top post for I will settle for nothing less.
Besides if Surf City Tom’s moniker is any indication he resides in “Onslow” county and cannot be nominated for a New Hanover………
Oh, wait, I forgot – I believe he’s a Republican – and they live by the motto “You don’t GOTT to live in New Hanover to be a county commissioner”.

Silly me, I forget about Gott.
Now I “get it about Gott”
Gott to go


2015 years 8 months ago

of confidence. But, I have my own kevelar. Unless they can get The Rock, Jason Strahan, or Bruce Willis, I’m a better driver in tight spaces and situations than they can provide. Don’t need a cattle prod; just give me a tazer to supplement my 9 mm.

All kidding aside, Berger can drag this on well into 2014.

The county has no idea on how amotion works which means a lot of lawyer time used which could be applied to other issues.

And I have yet seen any political party step up to the plate with an electable and common sense approach to serving the people.

2015 years 8 months ago

Think before you throw spears. I live in Pender County although I do own real estate in New Hanover.

You never did address the issue of weekly trips to Raleigh to get your hair coiffed.

2015 years 8 months ago

I use a corporate credit card (issued by the city) to get coiffed.
Yes, I do go to Raleigh to get it done – after all if you have big aspirations you have to go the big city and mingle with the big cahuna’s.

Aha an absenteee taxpayer ! Expatriated to Pender. Banished to the hinterlands.
As for spears? Nah I use a smaller caliber weapon.
I was needling you……….