Mayor Dwight C. Jones' decision to drop former Mayor L. Douglas Wilder's appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court was very welcome news. This may mean that the era of Mr. Wilder's bullying, egomania and lunacy has been replaced by an era of cooperation, common sense and reason. Let us hope so.
The appeals of Judge Margaret Spencer's decisions revealed Mr. Wilder's unsurpassed capacity for doubletalk. When Mr. Wilder tried to hire and fire city employees who report to City Council, he argued he had to follow the City Charter. What the Charter says is that the Chief Administrations Officer is in charge of all city employees. But the clear intent of the Charter was to say that the CAO is in charge of all of the employees in the departments that report to the CAO.
The rational thing to do was to correct the Charter. But Mr. Wilder argued that the CAO was in charge of the city employees who report to Council, and he was in charge of the CAO. Therefore he could hire and fire these employees.
This was nonsense, and Mr. Wilder knew it was nonsense. But he made a power play; because, he thought he might be able to get away with it.
The City Charter is clear about who controls city property. It is the City Council. When Mr. Wilder tried to evict the Richmond Public Schools from City Hall--probably because he wanted its offices for himself--he argued that the Charter did not apply to him because he was a "strong" mayor.
This litigation had already cost the City over a million dollars; droping it was a very good idea.
Thank you Brother Mayor Jones.
Preston M. Yancy