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