Want the biggest job in the borough of Greenwich? Apply now…

Woolwich Town Hall
Want to get your hands on Greenwich borough’s biggest job, plus a salary of at least £185,000? Get yourself to royalgreenwichchiefexecutive.com and see what’s on offer as Greenwich Council chief executive Mary Ney gets set to retire.

Ney’s approaching retirement has been well-known around the council for some time, and the quote given to the News Shopper’s Mark Chandler back in July when he asked to confirm the details – “this is old news” – pretty much sums up the petulant, entitled and secretive attitude that spread at the top of the council under her watch.

Ray Walker, Chris Roberts and Mary Ney
Ray Walker, Chris Roberts and Mary Ney

Recruited by former leader Chris Roberts shortly after he took over the council, Ney – a former head of Harrow social services – failed to act when alerted to the bullying culture within the council under Roberts and ex-chief whip Ray Walker’s watch.

Indeed, Ney is still trying to prevent the release of a document about bullying sent by a Greenwich councillor, a case that has now gone to a freedom of information tribunal.

Writing on his blog yesterday, former Labour councillor Alex Grant shines some light on the broken culture of what now calls itself ‘Royal Greenwich’:

“In my 16 years as a councillor in Greenwich I lost count of the number of times that hard-working councillors were told to look away from problems rather than scrutinise them.

“It was worryingly common for councillors who asked innocent questions about what the council was doing – either publicly or privately – to be shouted at, receive abusive voicemail messages, or even be officially ‘warned’ to shut up or face the consequences.

The problems I encountered in my time as a councillor in Greenwich [included] bullying, a culture of secrecy, discouraging councillors and members of staff from raising concerns, particularly about the council’s finances and use of resources.”

A new chief executive will be a bigger opportunity to flush out the old culture at Greenwich than the election of a new political leader – here’s hoping it’s an outside appointment. Alas, it doesn’t look like an offer’s gone out to share Lewisham’s hugely-respected chief executive, Barry Quirk.

Over at Lambeth, Derrick Anderson is also stepping down after turning around “London’s worst council” – wonder if he fancies a new challenge?

2 comments

  1. Sadly Barry Quirk is only 3 days a week… Running 2 councils on that amount of time would be a tall order for anyone. His FTE pay is slightly more than Greenwich are offering, at £192,387 if my maths is correct.

  2. One comment so far says it all…
    And on a lingering symbolic issue from the dark days one very prominent member of the new leadership talked to me over tea about the need to find “the moral high ground” – then immediately got vertigo.
    All together now: “Typical!”

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