New Hanover County Commissioner Berger hacks off fellow commissioners calling last minute news conference


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Newly elected New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger called a news conference this afternoon to discuss economic development reform, but neglected to inform his four colleagues. They, as you can see in emails sent back to Berger, were not happy:

Email from Chairman Jonathan Barfield
“I wish you had briefed us earlier on your plans as the Board of Commissioners clearly identified Economic Development as one of our core goals. We need to speak with one voice as much as possible, understanding that you will need consensus from the majority of the Board for any initiative. Do you have that currently, and is this a way to build that consensus is the question I would ask. As Jason mentioned please speak in terms of your thoughts and not the Boards thoughts. As you are aware I am out of town and Ted cannot be there.”

- Advertisement -

Email from Vice-Chairman Jason Thompson
“First this is crap for a notice! 2 hours really?? I have a 1130 NHC meeting so I cannot attend. I would caution you to make sure you are speaking as an individual and not for the [County Commissioners] as I dont believe we took action on any of these issues.”

Email from Commissioner Rick Catlin
“On such short notice I can not be there. I will be in a meeting discussing solid waste issues. I thought this was something we were going to discuss together??”

Berger’s response
“Of course I don’t intend to speak for the Board. My intention is simply to build momentum on the number one “priority” from the strategic planning session and move forward with some action, likely a committee or task group to review and make recommendations to improve policies in this area and continue to generate discussions…”

“I understand changing the status quo is threatening to some, but this is an opportunity and we should work together to capitalize on it,” Berger wrote. “I don’t think this has to be an area where conflict is inevitable. We need jobs and economic expansion for the future, if we agree on that let’s work together to create the business climate conducive to meeting the outcome we seek: a vibrant, diverse private-sector economy in the region.”

Berger encouraged local political and business leaders to look at the current economic development plan and come up with ways to improve it. However, he offered no concrete ideas nor talked about when such a meeting would be held.