A look back at the Wilder years

Published: Dec. 31, 2008 at 3:21 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 2, 2009 at 2:16 PM EST
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By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - Mayor Doug Wilder's term as Richmond's Mayor was historic before it even started. Voters decided to change the city's form of government to directly elect a mayor for the first time in decades.

"Change is here, reform is here and we are not going to waste time doing what we are going to do," said Mayor Doug Wilder in his Inauguration speech.

And the new mayor did not waste any time. He pushed out city officials like Police Chief Andre Parker. His replacement- Rodney Monroe, helped reduce crime rates.

However, Monroe's accomplishments were clouded not long after he left Richmond for Charlotte, when it was discovered that he was improperly awarded a degree from VCU. For the next two years, Wilder routinely replaced high level officials, and even shut down entire city departments.

But his effectiveness turned in a different direction in September of 2007. That was when the mayor attempted to forcefully evict, the School Administration from City Hall. The eviction was stopped by a judge, and was battled out in a court room after that dramatic night.

From there Wilder became the advisary of not only the School Board, but City Council. Challenging the legislative body for power at every turn, not afraid to defend himself in court if he had to.

The high point of his final year was spent campaigning for Barack Obama. He still dodged controversies involving high level adminstrators, and the loss of the city's baseball team. That eventually led the larger than life figure to leave City Hall behind.

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