NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Special Superior Court Judge James L. Gale ruled Thursday that Brian Berger has been restored to his position on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. The move elicited comments from fellow commissioners, along with Berger himself.
Berger's fellow commissioners voted to remove Berger from the board using a process called an amotion earlier this year. Commissioner Barfield was the only commissioner, besides Berger, to oppose the amotion process when originally proposed.
Berger wrote the following in an email to WECT Friday:
"I'm grateful to have been reinstated to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners I was elected to and continuing to fulfill the public service and civic obligation that compelled me to sacrifice so much for the greater good. It's no secret the conduct of some people in elected office, public positions serving North Carolina government, and disingenuous opportunists within New Hanover County, representing the people of New Hanover County in the N.C. General Assembly, and representing the people of North Carolina in positions of authority at all levels of American government, even in the U.S. Congress, was reprehensible. The conduct of these officials from Wilmington is not only illegal, it also violates the spirit of the Constitution of the United States, N.C. Constitution, and a host of Federal & State laws intended to prevent this kind of ongoing abuse of authority under "color of law," stripping citizens of their God-given liberties, civil rights, and undermining the very concept of democracy.
"I am eager to return to public service and being a public servant should involve sacrifice, not land deals and more riches for attorneys and special interests in government. Governor McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper of N.C. have enabled this abuse of power by County Chair Woody White and his cohorts to go far enough. White, with a silent Governor watching, alleging contrary to all evidence and my support of both McCrory and Cooper, that I attempted to assassinate the Governor of N.C. with "drool."
This is the absurdity of politics in North Carolina in 2013, and people are justified in asking questions about their "leaders."
"I have no violent history, ever, not even a predisposition to violence, or even threatening anybody, as demonstrated by many decades of actual actions and conduct prior to being elected by the People of North Carolina to serve them in 2010 my record was a couple minor traffic violations, only. To be called a "terrorist" and "serial killer," accused of taking "women and children hostage at knifepoint on illicit street drugs," torturing children, and having a very personal and private medical disability exploited by fellow Commissioners now deciding major public policies, and now including a sitting State Governor, apparently not sufficient aware of evidence contradicting his assassination by my "drool," is beyond words. County chair White and Gov. McCrory, as well as their partners are well-aware, led by White, Beth Dawson and unelected Tom Wolfe, (Autism-related communication deficiencies with zero predisposition to harming anyone), that the "case" they wasted taxpayers' money on is based almost entirely on absurd, proven false accusations completely fictitious in content and politically-motivated to silence the only independent-minded member of the County's five-member governing body. I cannot do justice to the pain and suffering such treatment and discrimination has brought my family and me...nobody deserves to be mistreated that way.
"Citizens deserve honesty from their government and not what currently dominates politics in New Hanover County, N.C. today, permeates the County's State House delegation, and is altogether absurd and criminal in its nature and dishonest 'representatives.' I can handle the cold, hard floor of a jail cell and homelessness, sacrifices I've made since taking office promising to reform historical corruption in County government, and to do the "right thing," but no elected official should ever be put in that position."
"For two years, I have been given the silent treatment and had no contact whatsoever with the only one of 1600 employees willing to lie under oath, and that threat was a written statement that County employees should be expected to abide by the law, which is not an unreasonable statement. Twisting that and manipulating it and inventing things to make it sound like I made some kind of threat to anyone's safety crossed the bounds of integrity and was one of many attempts to invent any link between me and violence since none actually exists. If that isn't perjury and illegal, honor and integrity should be upheld by White, the bonus-receiving witness who lied or so-manipulated facts that there was clearly a planned, deliberate effort to mislead the public via this immoral deception - taking advantage of a negative stereotype that has no basis whatsoever in truth or facts. Instead of accountability, these lies earned the only witness willing to lie to such a massive extent received a very large "merit" raise recently.
"I will be continuing to call for appropriate responses from Federal and N.C. authorities to investigate corruption and misconduct by officials in Southeast N.C. which is long overdue, but I also believe it is time to face the future. Decency should be all that is required to take corrective actions for illegal discrimination and rights violations, and to expose corruption and government officials' abuses of power whenever and wherever they surface, regardless of the victim and basis for the bigotry by officials who acted in violation of the laws of the land.
"It is time to look forward and move forward and work together with my colleagues (which should not be hampered in any way by a Federal investigation and intervention, as appropriate). There's enough hate and hostility in the world and I refuse to add to it. I'm asking others to join me in not adding to it and praying for it to end and pray for peace"
Judge Gale was right in his "Order" issued late in the day Sept. 5th, to overturn after the massive wasteful spending on an absurd plan to eliminate minority views and dissent on an elected governing authority in North Carolina, championed by Woody White, initiated by several former New Hanover Commissioners now state legislators making state-wide decisions. Contrary to Gov. Pat McCrory and his local allies, and their dishonest and illegal conduct, even asserting an attempt to assassinate Governor McCrory with "drool," County Chair Woody White, Gov. McCrory and other partners in crime (figure of speech...a little) lost to the U.S. Constitution, N.C. Constitution, Democracy in America and Ethical Public Service. I still look forward to working with them for the people of New Hanover County, to put more police on the streets, improve schools and school safety, protect the environment and stop wasting what might now exceed millions of U.S. dollars devoted by three Board members to nothing more than a personal and politically-motivated "hit job" led by a lawyer with a history of bigotry and not sound public policy. The latter should be the Board's focus as we move forward together to make New Hanover County a better place to live, safer and more attractive to businesses and job creation.
"I am humbly asking my fellow Commissioners to end the abusive treatment of citizens and understand its okay to 'agree to disagree' without raising their fists in anger, to work with me on issues like healthcare and the safety of our streets and schools, grow the local economy and address the issues that affect people's lives. I pray they can make this change, and the lies and misconduct stop now. I humbly ask my fellow regular citizens to pray real reform replaces the hatred that has fueled this "Amotion process," a sad reflection on our otherwise great State. I pray we can proceed accordingly, amicably, and talk instead of secretly conspire for a select few as this Board has done under White. I pray I'm not alone in wanting to meet, as professionals, remedy problems and make decisions for the good of all New Hanover County citizens.
"We need prayer now more than ever."
"I'm not surprised."
"I wanted Berger to resign like everyone else did, but I was concerned about the process. The process was untested and flawed."
"My prediction was back then is what has happened now."
"We wasted a lot of taxpayer's dollars, spending hundreds of staff hours for a process that got us right back in the same place that we started from."
"It's going to be business as usual for me."
When asked how it will be to have Commissioner back on the board of commissioners, Commissioner Barfield could only shake his head, "I have no idea," Barfield said.
In a text message sent to one of our reporters, Commission Chair Woody White first said, "I just read Barfield's comments. My response: It's obvious that Commissioner Barfield did not read the order before he commented. The judge ruled in the county's favor on substantive legal issues and found the process was fair and still valid. He sent the case back to us for further findings. That is common and we will convene a new hearing to address the judge's statements."
White then released a longer, official statement on Berger Friday. Click here to read it.
Commission Chair White says he and the other county commissioners will "likely" try again to remove Berger from the New Hanover County Commissioners, but they are waiting for details on how they will approach the situation.
In the 31-page order, Judge Gale ruled the commissioners needed to use an impartial fact finder to remove Berger from office. Instead, the judge ruled the decision to remove Berger was based on people's personal experiences with Berger.
We're reaching out to the other members of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners for comment.