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Board censures Berger, sets ouster proceeding in motion

New Hanover County

The push to remove Brian Berger from his seat on the New Hanover County Commission Board is moving forward. 

At Monday’s regular meeting of the County Board, Commissioners delivered a public reprimand and set a date for the proceeding to oust Berger that will very likely replicate a courtroom hearing.

As each of three actions related to the removal of Commissioner Brian Berger came before the Board of Commissioners for a vote, the predictable, but increasingly strident response from the embattled Commissioner rang out: “No!”

While not much more than a public rebuke, the now-official censure lists instances of “repeated and inappropriate conduct” by Berger – including multiple unexcused absences, driving while intoxicated, criminal charges, and disturbances. 

This action sets the context for the next one:  an amotion – which is a somewhat arcane legal proceeding typically used in corporate settings to remove an officer from the Board. 

Commissioners set May 20th as the date for the amotion hearing.  And the Board adopted rules and procedures for the May hearing – with Berger dissenting on all three resolutions.  Jonathan Barfield voted against one.

It wasn’t until the vote on the final resolution – the amotion hearing rules – that Berger spoke against the proceedings:

“I call into question the legality and the New Hanover County Board of Commissioner’s purpose in adopting this motion.  I contest and dispute the misleading and false allegations of the amotion document and this entire process.”

Chairman White responded:

“The motion passed two actions ago.  That was an appropriate comment at that time.”

Berger has until May 17th to disclose whether he has legal counsel for the proceeding, what evidence he will present, and whether he will bring forth any witnesses to testify on his behalf.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.