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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioners were expected to talk trash today, but by the end of their meeting, the trash talk was aimed at one of their own.

The commission agenda included talking again about Covanta taking over the old WASTEC facility, but it was Commissioner Brian Berger’s absence that caused a real stink.

Commissioners knew they’d have one empty seat at Monday’s meeting; the one that used to belong to Ted Davis, who recently resigned to take a seat in the state legislature. They thought they might have another, because Commissioner Jason Thompson just had surgery. But it turned out to be another chair that wound up empty.

“As of this morning, I called the chairman just to make sure they didn’t need me, and he said Commissioner Berger hadn’t even picked up his package as of this morning over at the county offices, and looked like he wasn’t going to show,” Thompson said.

Berger was once again a no-show. That meant Thompson had to be called in to have a quorum.

“I don’t look the part today,” said Thompson, who wore a jogging suit and appeared not to have shaved. “I’m not feeling well obviously. But you know, you got to do the people’s business even when you don’t want to. Today I didn’t want to, but here I am.”

We went by Berger’s house and found his Jeep outside, but at the door, there was no answer.

Although Berger has had trouble with attendance in the past, this is still surprising to Chairman Jonathan Barfield, as Berger had just last month asked for more responsibility.

“What more can I say?” Barfield said. “You know, Commissioner Berger wanted to be appointed to some of Commissioner Davis’s boards at this meeting here, and the fact that he wasn’t even here to vote on some of those issues. There’s not anymore that can be said.”

So the commissioners moved forward without Berger.

“I said upfront, ‘I’m sick of it,'” Thompson said. “And, you know, maybe my pain threshold is a little high today, so I said more than I normally would, but that’s what you get, and if you don’t like it, show up to a damn meeting and be here and vote.”

“Those that are voting for elected officials need to take a strong look at those folks who you’re voting for and make sure that they have the ability to represent you and your interests,” Barfield said.

We’ve tried to reach Berger today for comment. He has not responded.


Comment on this Story

  • Guester

    You say, “Berger’s failure to notify Chairman Barfield is inexcusable, whether it is required or not.” but then you proceed to try to excuse his absence by saying there wasn’t anything urgent on the agenda. That doesn’t matter! He works for me as well as you. Anyone working for me needs to call me if they can’t show up for work. Period.

    I agree that Chairman Barfield could have rescheduled IF Berger let him know he wasn’t going to be there, but that is a moot point as Berger decided to just “skip” the meeting for whatever reason.

  • Sonya

    I seem to recall Berger saying that Thom’s legal fees bankrupted him and I seem to recall Thom saying “justice had been done”…tea party patriots. Sick of em all.

  • Vog46

    What a comedy of errors our County Commission has turned out to be.
    The ongoing saga of Brian Berger is bad enough.
    Then we had Chairman Davis being appointed – which, in effect, vacated the seat for “only” one or two meetings
    Then we had a chairman put in place by votes from the opposition party?
    Then the GOP nominates a Brunswick County resident to fill Davis’ seat.
    (Is that considered exporting jobs?)
    Now we all of these shortcomings come together when a legitimate excuse takes another commissioner out of a meeting and Berger’s a no show in addition to the continued unfilled seat of Davis.
    First point – Berger’s failure to notify Chairman Barfield is inexcusable, whether it is required or not. A common courtesy would be to call in especially knowing that Davis seat is empty which Berger did know.
    Second – I saw nothing on the agenda that could not be delayed.
    Third – a special meeting COULD be called due to the empty seats at that nights meeting.
    Finally – for some odd reason I get suspicious when a CCer shows up in obvious distress claiming that although he didn’t feel like it, he had to do the peoples business.
    A nice sentiment, but it smacks of grandstanding to me. I was waiting for him to hit a walk off home run or score a last minute touchdown. It seemed to be a perfect highlight film opportunity and Jason played it to the hilt.
    I’m always suspicious of things like this. If a doctor said stay home and rest, then he should have, the same goes for Berger as well.

    But, overall? Chairman Barfield SHOULD have rescheduled to give both Berger and Thompson time to recuperate. An occasional re-scheduling is not a bad thing when you have headline grabbing hounds like Berger and Thompson on the same quorum.


  • Vog46

    It is MY County Commissioners we’re talking about here so I have every right NOT to be fair.

    All kidding aside
    Dukie (Chuck Kuebler) has been relegated to the Star News Online blogs to defend the pro side position – where he is summarily being dispatched to the fiery depths of h________.

    you should of course sign up and take part
    (WWAY moderation takes way too long. In the SNO blogs posting is immediate)


  • SurfCityTom

    perhaps Mr. Berger has no phone. He likely makes too much as a County Commissioner to qualify for one of those free Obamaphones issued by Safelink.com

    With the advent of cell phones, the phone company has virtually removed all phone booths. Likely not one within walking or driving distance from the Dock street residence.

    Personally, I had some type of viral distress on Tuesday; I still had to get out and up to New Bern to investigate some suspected misdeeds.

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

    Politicians, on the other hand either woos out or get an overweight CNN moderator to abuse the opposing candidate in a debate.

    On another note, the “Sounds of Silence” are becoming deeper from the ballpark proponents. Maybe Terry and Dukie have learned silence is golden.

  • ChefnSurf


  • GuestMan.

    he’s more like Spence or Hamilton.

  • Guesttttttt

    Has the media or other commissioners heard from berger at all??

  • Scott Pickey

    ChefnSurf – we THINK he lives at 8th and Dock – although he’s never personally confirmed it. His Jeep is parked out in front – and we’ve seen him drive by a couple of times trying to avoid us – so you’re right – it’s a strong assumption he lives there.


    Scott Pickey
    WWAY News Director

  • ChefnSurf

    On Oct 8th WWAY posted a piece titled “Evicted from home, questions arise about Berger’s residency”. Now one week later WWAY says “we went by Berger’s house and found his Jeep outside”.

    Maybe I missed something WWAY. Have you, since then, confirmed his residency or did you just post a “Berger story” at that time to dovetail in with your piece on Melissa Gott’s residency question.

    Hey, I not a big Berger fan but something seems more than a little conflicted between these two stories. Perhaps some clarification on your part would be helpful at this time.

  • SouthEastNC

    Shouldn’t be a problem with Davis and Catlin both going to the House. Goolsby though – not sure since Berger is/was his client.

  • Straight Shooter

    We must contact and push our local delegation to find a way to remedy this colossal mistake from our board of commissioners! Only then will we be able to return some sanity to the board!

  • Guestttttttttt

    Soooo….. Has anyone found our commissioner yet???? Or still m.i.a.???

  • Guester

    Goolsby & Berger are buds. I imagine he must have defended him pro bono – I didn’t think Berger had much cash on hand.

  • Citizen of the Republic

    but thank God he’s no Katherine Moore.

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