Barfield sworn in to DSS board, Berger leaves

Commissioner Brian Berger
Commissioner Brian Berger
Commissioner Jonathan Barfield now sits on the DSS Board.
Commissioner Jonathan Barfield now sits on the DSS Board.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County's representative on the Social Services Board officially changed Tuesday, with Commissioner Jonathan Barfield taking his oath.

The move comes with protest from outgoing DSS board member Brian Berger, a fellow county commissioner.  Berger showed up to Tuesday's DSS meeting in protest of his removal and took a seat at the board table.

Monday, the New Hanover County Commission voted 4-0 to approve a consent agenda with new board assignments.  In that process, Commissioner Berger was removed from several of his duties, including positions on the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and Social Services Board.

Commissioners said they were responding to complaints about Berger's tardiness and participation from board chairmen in the county.  Berger missed the vote to remove him from the board, because he was late to Monday's commission meeting.  However, later in the meeting, Berger said he never heard any complaints about his service.

Barfield instructed the sheriff's office to have a representative at Tuesday's DSS meeting in case there was any trouble, but no trouble happened.

"I prayed and asked the lord to make this a smooth transition without a lot of hoop-lah in terms of problems," said Barfield.  "I prayed that he didn't show up, but if he did everything would flow well."

After Barfield's swearing in, the board thanked Berger for his service and invited him to sit in the audience.  Berger walked out and addressed the media.

Berger said what the commissioners did Monday was illegal, but he did not have the exact law to cite.  He did send commissioners a link to reference where he got his information regarding the law.  (see page 7)

Barfield said county commissioners make board appointments every December, and they can choose who they think is best fit to be on a particular board.

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