Berger: "I will come down on you like a hammer on a nail"

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger was late to this morning's County Commission meeting, missing the vote to approve the Consent Agenda.  One item on the consent agenda was approving the list of committee appointments, which in the process stripped him of a bulk of his high-profile assignments.

At last Thursday's agenda brief meeting, the Board voted 4-1 to not elect Berger as the County representative to most boards, including the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and DSS.  Berger was asked last Thursday if he planned to continue the discussion to today's meeting, he told his fellow board that he did not see a reason since it was clear they were going to continue to vote against him.

Commissioners voted 4-0 without Berger to pass the consent agenda making Berger's exclusion from most boards official.

Later in the meeting, Berger used an open comment period to talk about the recent move.  He said political and personal differences among the commissioners do not qualify as "good cause" for removing him from his board assignments.  He says he has not heard of any complaints about his work on any of the boards.

"You will not meet anyone more committed and fearless than I am,"  Berger told commissioners.  "I will come down on you like a hammer on a nail."

Berger went on to say that he won't step down from any of his assignments.

"In some cases it would be illegal to attempt to force me out," Berger said.

Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said that he will be at the DSS meeting tomorrow as the county representative and he directed the sheriff to join him in case there is any trouble.

"You gotta show up on time," Jonathan Barfield said.  "You gotta be a participant, but you gotta be there on time."

Commission Chairman Ted Davis told Berger the board's actions are not illegal.

"We can put anyone on any board that we want to and that's totally in our discretion," Ted Davis said.

Davis said he was surprised that Berger claims he was ambushed, when twice before he indicated concerns to Davis about the changing of committee assignments.  He even pointed out that Berger scheduled a meeting with Davis to talk about issues prior to last week's agenda briefing, but did not show up in time.

"Quite frankly the only person I hear about you doing a good job is you," Davis said.

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