While pundits speculate why it took Mayor Dwight C. Jones so long to choose his leadership triumvirate, the bald fact may be that it's just not easy to assemble a team with ample intelligence, experience, judgment — and enough facial hair to turn this city around.
Eschewing a precedent set by former Mayor Doug Wilder — who favored baldness in his underlings such as Harry Black — Jones' choice for chief administrative officer, Byron Marshall, signals a firm return to the fuzz-faced days of former city managers Calvin Jamison and Robert Bobb.
Similarly, the mayor's chief deputies — Marcus Jones of finance and administration and Peter Chapman of economic and community development — sport facial hair.
Only former acting chief administrative officer Chris Beschler is clean-shaven, perhaps the reason he was passed over, suggests former Richmonder Aaron Perlut, self-described “doctor of nuclear mustach-ology” and chairman of the board of directors of the St. Louis-based American Mustache Institute.
Hirsute honchos trump their clean-shaven counterparts, Perlut says. That's because men (and women) with face lace possess the four key traits of leadership, he says: “Power, strength, intelligence — and of course delicious good looks.”
Jones' choices for lieutenants also follow a national political fashion trend, Perlut says. “I think you're seeing that leaders of men and women are unafraid to sport their lower-nose growth,” Perlut says. He points to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and David Axelrod (the latter widely credited as the brains behind President Barack Obama's successful campaign) as the new, hairier breed of government leaders.
Even Obama, during his recent Africa visit, boasted the bare beginnings of a prehensile labia sebucula (that's Latin for lip sweater, according to Dr. Perlut). Mustache? Yes he can.