Berger sets the record straight on tax money for Gravely party
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- WWAY continues covering controversy surrounding taxpayer money going to the commissioning of the USS Gravely. We sat down with Brian Berger to get the facts straight Thursday night.

The USS Gravely has come and gone, but some complain about the money spent on the naval destroyer. County commissioners voted to give $25,000 dollars for the commissioning week as did the city. After several attempts to see where Berger stands on the public funding for the commissioning WWAY finally got the answer.

"Regardless of whether it was $5,000 or $25,000 dollars would not have changed my vote," said Berger. "I would have voted no in either instance. I believe that there are issues in this community with transparency and accountability."

WWAY requested to see the break down of the funds so taxpayers could see where their money went. Berger's talked about the money, but he says no matter what he exactly said or how he said it the bottom line is he does not approve of the city and county giving taxpayer money for the commissioning.

"The $50,000 dollars for entertainment on top of the other funds to have the commissioning here, which was already a done deal but spending $50,000 on top of that in this economy of local taxpayer money I did not support that then and I don't support that now."

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I just find it interesting that when the media questions the county & city govt about where our tax money was spent the response comes from the private politically active public relations firm McColl & Assoc. and not the actual government who gave out our coffer funds. I applaud WWAY for asking but that answer is not good enough.
When in fact your own reporting called into question city and county law enforcement being used to "guard" the ship of war (like WPD really protected a war ship) ..that was not included in her numbers.
I see the interview as a ruse at best. Ask for the receipts to back it up, make em prove it. Anyone with two weeks prep can make a budget look anyway you want it. Everyone who files a 1099 tax form can tell you that.
If McColl is being so forthcoming then her providing the paperwork to back up her figures should not be an issue. I have no problem asking where 50k in public money was spent by a private PR firm and expecting them to provide a simple receipt to back it up.
WWAY ask for the receipts and place them on your website.

At least we get public accounting--good ole folks like Louise McColl and her political cronies like Saffo aren't used to that.
I would rather have given the 50000 used by McColl to party --to people here in Community who badly need our help. McColl could have and should have cut back. Arrogance is no substitute for proper actions.
I agree with Brian. We have to make choices-so we can hold a nice Commissioning without all the frills and put public monies to better use. Thank you Brian Berger for asking for this accounting and more transparency.

Thank heavens we have Brian to at least ask questions---more than we can say about Catlin. To ask for a public accounting is what I expect from people we elect--not this silence from Saffo-the hacks on city council and those on County Commission who allocated funds but never asked for accounting. We have suffered as a community because of this special interest mentality that we have suffered for too long---I hope Brian never loses the courage to take on these sleazy special interests. McColl-saffo and thompson are examples of arrogance we never should have tolerated and can no longer afford. Way to go WWAY3-Chad Adams and Brian Berger!!