Wanted: horizon scanner who actually answers CEO’s emails

KEN LEE reports on another juicy job on offer in Fisher’s Folly: looking after the chief exec

Jo Negrini: needs someone to ‘horizon scan’ for her, who is calm when under pressure

Are you “ambitious”? Can you “horizon scan”?

Can you spot a split infinitive, yet are “able to confidently work on your own initiative and be experienced at administering high level [sic] board meetings”?

Or possess “the drive to consistently deliver high level customer services”?

Do you have “advanced pc skills, including the use of MS application software packages and strong time management skills”?

If so, then the £41,000-a-year job as Jo Negrini’s gofer in Fisher’s Folly could be just for you.

Negrini, who gets paid £180,000-plus as the council CEO, is recruiting a new executive officer to assist her work. It’s not a new post, though no one seems to know what happened to Negrini’s previous trusty assistant.

Negrini has more than one staff member to help her do her job, because the new executive officer is expected to have “some experience of managing staff… as you will have responsibility for the Executive Support Officer (ESO) who will work alongside you and who has direct responsibility for the Chief Executive’s diary, of which you will maintain an overview”.

Presumably, that’s the same CEO’s diary which this year saw Negrini prioritise attending a soirée organised by her wealthy architect chums, rather than fulfill her responsibilities by turning up for one of the handful of full council meetings staged at the Town Hall.

The job ad, which appeared just before the bank holiday weekend, comes complete with a nine-page job description, plus a sumptious listing of the various “generous” benefits (their choice of words, not ours) which Croydon Council’s staff enjoy, such as six weeks’ paid annual leave (and the facility to “buy” further time off).

“Croydon Council has one of the best benefits schemes in local government,” it says. “We want Croydon Council to be a place where our staff enjoy their jobs and are proud to be here. We reward talent and excellence, and our flagship benefits scheme, Croydon Options, allows you to enjoy a healthy work-life balance.”

Will Jo Negrini’s new assistant need to ensure the boss isn’t reduced to taking selfies during VIP visits?

Prospective applicants are told that, “If you have experience of supporting a CEO, like working in a large and complex environment, are used to managing a busy and demanding work load and can horizon scan and pre-empt what is coming next for the CEO, then this may well be the job for you.”

They are also informed that, “To succeed in this role you will need to demonstrate excellent communications skills and have the drive to consistently deliver high level customer services.” Presumably that means ensuring that correspondence to the council’s most senior public servant does actually get acknowledged and responded to – Negrini quickly acquired a reputation for failing to answer residents’ complaints and queries. Perhaps she’s just too important to have to deal with the people who pay her wages.

According to the job ad’s blurb, “Strong partnerships are the foundation for the future. That’s why we’re constantly looking forward. We need to find creative new ways of working together with other agencies and the private sector to deal with the financial challenges ahead. Because with growth comes increased demand – but also huge opportunity.”

And applicants are told: “We believe that the Executive Officer to CEO is a key role within the council and our expectation is that you will have experience of working at providing support at Chief Executive level within a large organisation. You will attend internal leadership and external partnership meetings, be highly motivated and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, having the ability to remain calm under pressure.”

So it is fair to assume that whoever drafted the job advertisement has a fair understanding of what it is like to work for Negrini…

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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7 Responses to Wanted: horizon scanner who actually answers CEO’s emails

  1. Ken Towl says:

    Is “horizon scanning” a thing?

  2. dave1152 says:

    “Fast paced environment”??? Judging by the speed of delivering the Westfield their definition of speed is up for question.

  3. croydonres says:

    The support structure for the self-serving fantasists at the top of Croydon council seems to go on getting bigger– and better paid.

  4. I suppose that “horizon scanning” is the opposite of “navel-gazing”.

    I remember a colleague who came up with a grid of words that you could take to a management seminar. You crossed off the words/phrases as they were quoted and it kept you awake. It was called “Bullshit Bingo”.

    • Nick Davies says:

      We had a sort of reverse version where people were fined a round of drinks if they failed to smuggle some pointless phrase – nowadays it would be something like “strong and stable” or “secure our borders” – into the meeting.

  5. derekthrower says:

    The only view to be seen in Negrini’s horizon is that of heavy clouds precipitating a resignation. Now whatever happened to that email about the Westfield planning application to be submitted in the first half of 2017?

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