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FIRST ON 3: Berger refuses to explain his absence during Friday meeting

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Berger refuses to explain his absence during Friday meeting

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The New Hanover County Commission met today, and this time all the commissioners were there.

After Brian Berger was absent from Friday's meeting with the school board, many wondered if the commissioner is dedicated to his constituents.

Monday's meeting included a topic most everyone is concerned about: the county's budget. And while the discussion on that and other issues was lengthy, Berger barely said a word.

"The reality is you gotta be here, and you gotta make the effort to show up on time and to be engaged in the conversation," Commission Chair Jonathan Barfield said.

Berger was at this meeting and on time, after missing a meeting Friday with the New Hanover County School Board. That came a day after fellow commissioners criticized him for consistently being late to meetings.

When the county's budget came up, other commissioners referred to discussion about school funding from Friday's meeting. Barfield says the meeting was important and planned for a while. He is still confused why Berger was not there.

"We all knew that we were having a meeting with the School Board. This is something that's been planned for quite a while," Barfield said. "To date, I've had no explanation why Commissioner Berger was not there. No one got a phone call saying, 'I'm gonna be late. I'm not gonna be there.'"

Barfield says every meeting is important, and he expects his fellow commissioners to take an active role in their decision making for the voters.

"You've got to be in the game to be a part of the game in terms of knowing what we're talking about," Barfield said.

We tried to speak with Berger, and although he said he would speak with us, when it was time to talk he ran out of the room.

In closing statements at today's meeting, Berger mentioned an accident recently involving a loved one. But because he avoided our reporter, we were unable to find out if that's why he missed Friday's meeting.

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