The battle over a lavish ‘golden handshake’ for the £220,000 per year chief executive appears to have been settled. By STEVEN DOWNES
Tony Newman, the leader of the Labour-run council, finally broke his silence this afternoon to confirm that Jo “Negreedy” Negrini, the borough’s chief exec, is leaving Croydon after six years.
Negrini leaves Croydon with the council in debt to the tune of £1.5billion, and close to going broke, and with a process to axe 400 council workers’ jobs under way, while the town centre remains run-down after eight years of development blight prompted by the empty promises of Negrini’s mates at Westfield, the shopping mall operators.
Today’s email, sent from the council’s internal communications email address, was timed at 2.36pm, and sent to the borough’s 70 councillors. Ostensibly it was sent from Newman, only just back from his holidays.
Insiders at Fisher’s Folly believe that much of the message will have been drafted by Negrini, or her lawyers, and she will have had sign-off on its final version.
The email said:
I am writing to you today to let you know that Jo Negrini is leaving the council. Jo has worked for Croydon since 2014 and became the borough’s first female chief executive four years ago in 2016.
I want to thank Jo for her dedicated service. Her belief in the borough and Croydon as a place played a big part in our regeneration and growth ambitions, similarly her commitment to delivering services out in our communities – supporting people when and where they need it most – has helped to shape our localities agenda with the NHS and voluntary sector.
She has positively supported and promoted diversity in leadership throughout her career as part of her clear commitment and passion for opportunities for diversity in the workplace. Through her leadership she has championed equalities in her time as chief executive of one of the more diverse boroughs in London and assembled one of the most diverse leadership teams of any council in the country.
Jo’s work leading the council’s response to the Croydon tram crash, having just become the chief executive, was phenomenal, as was her role in supporting our journey to a good Ofsted rating for our Children’s services. More recently Jo led our response to the covid-19 crisis, alongside many talented officers, through absolutely unprecedented pressures.
This is a challenging time for local government and Jo is leaving with all the structures and the team in place to navigate through this post-covid period and see the council through the next stage in its journey.
I know you will join me in wishing Jo all the best for the future.
Shifa Mustafa, Croydon’s executive director of place, will be covering the chief executive role while future arrangements are put in place.
I know this continues to be a difficult time for everyone and I would like to again thank you all for your hard work and dedication to serving Croydon and its residents.
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