UPDATE: Study Barfield cited on Gravely impact doesn’t exist


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield made his first appearance on “The Big Talker FM” this morning as chairman.

During his hour long interview with Chad Adams, he addressed various issues including WASTEC, the Skyway Bridge, neighborhood schools and the drama surrounding his commissioners the past few weeks.

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Adams also asked Barfield about the USS Gravely’s visit last year and why the commission opted to give the group in charge of the local commissioning ceremony $25,000 for its parties.

“We did an economic study for the Gravely visit,” Barfield told Adams. Barfield said it showed the benefits bringing the Gravely to the city would have on the local economy.

We had never seen or heard of the study, so we requested it from the county Public Information Officer. He had not heard of it either but said he would track it down.

The PIO emailed us this response: “I talked with Jonathan. He said he used the universal ‘we’, not specifically New Hanover County.”

This afternoon we caught up with Barfield and asked him about the study.

“I was really speaking about a study I believe that UNCW had performed,” Barfield said. “Just kind of rambling in an atmosphere of excitement, and I pretty much misspoke. I may have referred to the county doing the study, but I think it was UNCW.”

Barfield explained he’s never seen the study, but he heard about the data.

We asked the university about a study concerning the Gravley’s visit. A spokesperson said, “The UNCW Swain Center for Business and Economic Services, which typically does economic studies for the community, did not conduct a study on the USS Gravely commissioning. At this time we are not aware of any other faculty members or campus units that have conducted such a study on the commissioning.”