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Berger doesn’t pay back travel expenses at commission meeting

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s pay back time. At least that’s what New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger said last week about the more than $400 in travel expenses he owes the county. However, it did not happen Monday night.

“I will, as I said, pay those funds to avoid having this linger any further,” Berger said during the New Hanover County Commission meeting Monday.

During the board’s agenda briefing last week, Berger said he would wait to hand over a check at the next commissioner meeting because there would be a bigger audience. But on Monday Berger claimed county staff misjudged how much he owes and appears to be trying to attack him.

County Manager Chris Coudriet says that is simply not true.

“That is absurd,” Coudriet said. “There is no truth in such a statement.”

“It really wasn’t appropriate to devote so much staff time and so many members of staff towards a relatively small debt,” Berger said.

Coudriet says there has been numerous conversations about the money owed, but says Commissioner Berger initiated all of them.

“This is not something that the staff invented to go out and choose to follow,” Coudriet said. “We provided information at Commissioner Berger’s request.”

Berger says he plans to pay back the money he owes some time this week. He said Monday night that he wanted to give the check in private.

Also at Monday night’s commissioner meeting, the board elected Commissioner Jonathan Barfield to be the new chairman and Commissioner Jason Thompson to be vice chair. Barfield replaces former chair Ted Davis, who resigned last month after being appointed to the state House of Representatives.

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