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New Hanover commissioner urged to resign, get help

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WILMINGTON -- A New Hanover County Commissioner is being called a security threat and is asked to resign from his seat.

Chairman Woody White asked for Commissioner Brian Berger's resignation and offered help in an email on Friday morning.

White said Berger's behavior has become increasingly unstable in the last month and could be a danger to the county.

"It's frightened our staff, it has made us all feel increasing unsafe," said White.

On March 1, Berger sent a handwritten, fragmented letter to the county accusing several employees of discriminatory and unethical behavior.

On Thursday, Berger attempted to give a copy of the letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, who was visiting Cape Fear Community College for a groundbreaking.

White was sitting next to McCrory when Berger approached.

"My heart skipped a beat because I knew ... his physical appearance was frightening," White said. "He was shaking, his voice was stuttering and stammering, his eyes were red, he had some drool coming out of his mouth and I thought something bad is going to happen."

The exchange ended without conflict and the governor's office released a statement to News 14 Carolina stating McCrory was not harmed during his visit.

However, it was enough to convince White to ask for Berger's resignation.

"When faced with the facts I had the last 20 days, the facts we all had over the last 20 days, I just didn't see that we had a choice, but to say something and try to encourage him to seek some help," White said.

White said the county has increased safety measures at the government complex and will ensure a continued deputies presence at all future commissioners meetings.

"We want to do the people's business and we want to focus on the issues, but we are constantly in the back of our minds dealing and thinking about this," said White.

Email exchange between Brian Berger and Woody White

From: Berger, Brian
Sent: Friday, March 22, 2013 2:16 AM
To: Chesnut, Renee; County Commissioners; Coudriet, Chris; Burgess, Tim; Pinder, Avril; Schult, Sheila
Cc: Copley, Wanda; Huffman, Sharon
Subject: RE:
Greetings,

Yes, I would appreciate a briefing on most, not all of the listed litigation. What would be a good day and time?

Please also provide some written statement explaining the legal justification for sending sentries, all armed, to remove me from a seat on the Board of Social Services citing specific Statutory authority and explaining NHC's reading of that Statute providing for appointments to the DSS Board. Have any of you as an individual had armed guards physically force you from a place you were supposed to be fulfilling exceptionally the tasks at hand?

NHC owes every citizen an explanation for introducing violence into its standard policy of break the law and worst case let the taxpayers' insurance cover it. That's wrong and has to stop or I'm wrong and need a different reading of the NC law.

The second request please provide in writing. The former can be summaries via meeting or memo.

Thank You!

Brian

Brian M. Berger
New Hanover County Commissioner
230 Government Center Drive, Suite 175
Wilmington, NC 28403
office: 910-798-7149
cell: 910-431-3115
bberger@nhcgov.com

Brian Berger | County Commissioner
County Commissioners | New Hanover County
230 Government Center Drive, Suite 175
Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 798-7149 p | (910) 798-7145 f


-----


From: White, Woody [mailto:wwhite@nhcgov.com]
Sent: Friday, March 22, 2013 10:26 AM
To: Berger, Brian; Chesnut, Renee; County Commissioners; Coudriet, Chris; Burgess, Tim; Pinder, Avril; Schult, Sheila
Cc: Copley, Wanda; Huffman, Sharon; Woody White
Subject: RE:

Brian-
It is my opinion that the County Attorney does not have to honor your request to meet with you, and our fellow Commissioiners can respond on their opinion, as well. Your recent actions are disturbing, and have given us all grave concern about the escalation in your mental health issues. 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 erractic, delusional, and manic. The emails, test messages, and constant harrassment of staff are unacceptable. They (and I) feel unsafe when you are present, and no one wants to meet with you, because of the risk you pose. The heightened progession of your mental delusions result in us all feeling unsafe. And they result in distracting us from the real business we need to do for the citizens.
Brian, I have represented many people over the years, who exhibit an identical pattern as you, and I have seen them benefit, greatly, from seeking help from a physician and counselor. I have helped many of them get back on their feet and have been gratified with their many success stories. But the failures I have seen are due to the denial of a problem. Those that continue in the downward spiral are those that refuse help, and do not recognize the need for help.
I implore you to gather with your friends and family, and seek treatment. I will help with that, if asked, for free. But I also ask - implore - that you resign immediately. It is time. It was time for you to do so long ago, but these recent episodes have reached a critical mass.
Woody

Woody White | Chairman
County Commissioners | New Hanover County
230 Government Center Drive, Suite 175
Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 798-7259 p | (910) 798-7145 f

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