WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioners say they will let Brian Berger stay on the board… for now.
Today was Berger’s first commission meeting since he was reinstated earlier this month. The board voted 4-1, with Berger against, to approve rules he will have to follow for the remainder of his term.
“We’ve had lots of red flags go up on Mr. Berger, and for us not to take action to protect these people is a mistake,” Commissioner Thomas Wolfe said.
Wolfe says Berger does not have to report to the county, so when he makes staff feel uncomfortable, it falls on his fellow commissioners. That’s why he says they set rules for Berger in place.
“We want to make sure the staff feels comfortable in what they are doing, and at the same time give him the ability to do the work he needs to do on behalf of the citizens of our community,” Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said.
The rules commissioners set for Berger say he has to be on time to all public meetings and cannot cause a disruption.
He is only permitted in the New Hanover County Government Center during business hours, unless he is attending a public meeting, and will not get a key to any building. Berger or someone on his behalf must call ahead to tell staff when he is coming, and he must be escorted by a sheriff’s deputy.
Berger cannot abuse his e-mail privileges by sending rambling messages. He may make reasonable information requests during public meetings.
He is not allowed to use any county-owned vehicle and will not be allowed a county credit card.
“We’ve got to get this behind us,” Wolfe said. “If we can contain him and get this behind us, then fine. That’s the goal.”
Berger said he could not comment on the rules because of pending legal issues.
Chairman Woody White also refused to comment.
Vice Chair Beth Dawson said she would discuss any other item on the agenda, which she deemed more newsworthy.
The commissioners will be back together again at a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. in Wrightsville Beach.