FIRST ON 3: Commission chair asks Berger to resign; county considers restraining order
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — For the second time in two years, colleagues are calling for New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger to resign.
This morning Commission Chair Woody White called for Berger’s resignation in an e-mail to his fellow Republican. The request comes after Berger tried repeatedly to talk to Gov. Pat McCrory during the governor’s visit to Cape Fear Community College yesterday. Berger also recently spent more than $3,000 on a trip to Washington, DC, for which he has asked to be reimbursed, despite direction from county leaders not to travel on the county’s behalf.
“Your recent actions are disturbing and have given us all grave concern about the escalation in your mental health issues,” White wrote in an e-mail to Berger at 10:30 a.m. “Your rambling, incoherent comments and actions over the last 20 days, culminating in the security risk you posed to the governor of North Carolina yesterday, have given us all reason to stay away from you. Your actions have been erratic, delusional and manic.”
Berger approached the governor on stage before the groundbreaking for CFCC’s Fine Arts Building yesterday. Berger later approached the governor during the ceremony and as he left the event.
The StarNews reports Berger climbed on stage during the ceremony and handed a confused McCrory a nearly 10-page manifesto. The newspaper also reports Berger distributed the manifesto a few weeks ago in Washington. In it, the StarNews says, Berger threatens some county staff members and falsely accuses both current and former officials of illegal activity. The rambling document spells out Berger’s constant drum beat of accusations of corruption and discrimination.
“I am keenly aware that in the absence of intervention it is possible, if not likely, that its only a matter of time before someone gets seriously wounded or murdered,” reads a section of Berger’s manifesto.
At an afternoon news conference, White said county staff is “uncomfortable by Berger’s physical presence.” He said county leaders are looking at what options they have, including the possibility of asking a judge for a restraining order.
White also said that county leaders believe Berger may have gotten into the offices of the county manager and county attorney during a late night visit recently to the New Hanover County Government Center. He also said Berger has used county resources to make a couple thousand copies of the manifesto he’s been giving out to people in the community.
In his e-mail this morning, White also asked Berger to meet with family and friends and to seek treatment. White even offered to help Berger himself.
“I also ask – implore – that you resign immediately,” White wrote. “It is time. It was time for you to do so long ago, but these recent episodes have reached a critical mass.”
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