Jon, Meet Doug

Via Jason, I see that one of Richmond’s most thoughtful and entertaining bloggers, Jon Baliles, is backing away from his keyboard to take a job with the city of Richmond. Jon explains his move here:

…I have been offered and accepted a position within the Mayor’s Office as a Public Information Manager.

I was not expecting such a position to be proffered and I was even less sure I would take it. It took several days of hard thinking and talking with confidants about the opportunity. Nevertheless, I determined the time was right.

Putting on a tie and shaving and riding the bus to the same office every day is something I have avoided like the plague for most of my adult life. Yet, awkwardness aside, it is now an opportunity to put forth some of the ideas I have crowed about from this perch.

It gives me the opportunity to see how the city works from the inside and bring ideas and action and a fresh perspective to the discussion and possibly reality (or the dustbin). It takes away some freedom and independence that blogging allows, but it pays a lot better than the $0 per year I have been making.

He also notes that he discussed the move with fomer Bacon’s contributor Conaway Haskins (who works for some guy up north, I think).

This is an interesting move on a number of levels. While I can certainly appreciate the reluctance to wear a tie, Jon’s 90 day experiment (or longer, if things work out)on the inside of the beast he has ridden so hard over the last few years will be more than just an exercise in sartorial splendor, the glories of the GRTC or how one relates to a mayor who can be…mercurial. It will also give at least one blogger a taste of what life is like on the other side of the digital fence — selling proposals and ideas to a cautious, sometimes indifferent, and genuinely irrational public rather than critiquing them from afar. Perhaps the rest of us will be able to learn something from his efforts.

Best of luck, Jon. And remember: the only person on Doug Wilder’s team is Doug Wilder.

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  1. Paul Hammond Avatar
    Paul Hammond

    From Style’s website via Buttermilk.

    “Why shouldn’t we be fashion forward?” asks Linwood Norman, the mayor’s press secretary.

    Style also has a bit of advice from one of Wilder’s former press secretaries, Bill Farrar:

    “I don’t have any advice for anybody about to work there,” Farrar says, “except think twice about it.”

    I like that, “fashion forward”. One more reason I am not qualified for this position. Maybe I can be the guy who used to whisper in the Emperor’s ear that he is only human, but I think that guy loses his head at the end of each parade.

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar

    I fear for young Baliles. Once a man passes over to the Dark Side, he can never come back.

  3. I see at as a good career move and a cynical attempt to get source material for a future book. The list of former Wilder officials grows longer and each has gone on too publishing fame, but you may be right. One does not enter the Dark Side lightly. If I were him, I’d get wired, record everything and keep them in a safe place should he one day fall under a bus.

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