A pay rise granted to the chief executive of the Canberra Institute of Technology, who has been on leave for nearly a year-and-a-half during a corruption inquiry, must be reviewed, the Canberra Liberals say.
Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee has written to the ACT Remuneration Tribunal urging a review of the decision that handed Leanne Cover a 3.5 per cent pay increase and changes to prevent similar situations in the future.
"Ms Cover has been on paid leave now for nearly 18 months and an acting CEO has been appointed, resulting in the payment of two CEOs at a significant cost to ACT taxpayers," Ms Lee wrote.
Ms Lee said the pay rise added insult to injury for taxpayers, who were paying for two chief executives. Two people have been in the position since August 4, 2022.
Ms Lee called on the tribunal to consider the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal's decision to revoke compensation if departmental secretaries are found to have breached the public service code of conduct or are under investigation by the federal corruption watchdog.
"The issues currently being investigated by the ACT Integrity Commission are serious and include the actions of Ms Cover and any pay increase at this time is not in the public interest," she wrote.
"I also request that you consider the actions of the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal in making the amendment determination to ascertain if similar action can be taken by the ACT Remuneration Tribunal to ensure a similar situation that has occurred with the CEO of the Canberra Institute of Technology, does not happen again."
Ms Lee said in a statement: "I hope that the ACT Greens and Chief Minister will support this position and also write to the ACT Remuneration Tribunal and recommend similar changes."
The 3.5 per cent pay rise meant Ms Cover's annual remuneration grew by $11,500 and is now worth $373,061.
The Integrity Commission is examining the institute's contracts worth more than $8.5 million with companies owned by a "complexity and systems thinker".
Ms Cover stood aside in June last year and remains on paid leave, which the institute's board chair, Kate Lundy, said was found to be the appropriate way to "allow procedural fairness to unfold".
Ms Lee also wrote to Chief Minister Andrew Barr, urging him to seek a review of the remuneration tribunal decision.
Mr Barr declined to say whether he supported the decision to increase Ms Cover's pay during question time this week.
"It is not really for me to comment on Remuneration Tribunal decisions. I would not make a habit of doing that. The tribunal is independent for very good reason, and it makes its determinations across the board in an impartial way," Mr Barr said in response to a question from Ms Lee.
The Integrity Commission will soon reveal its first findings from an investigation into the Canberra Institute of Technology, which was sparked after it awarded more than $8.5 million of contracts to companies owned by "complexity and systems thinker" Patrick Hollingworth.
Integrity Commissioner Michael Adams KC said an interim report had been provided to those required by law to have an opportunity to comment on the findings before they are made public.
"It has to remain confidential for obvious reasons, because the findings must necessarily remain sensitive until procedural fairness is completed," Mr Adams told a Legislative Assembly inquiry on November 13.
Christine Robertson, the institute's interim chief executive, could remain in the role for another two years while the Integrity Commission investigation continues.