Deputy government spokesperson wrongly paid overtime

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Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides has called for reimbursement of overtime paid to deputy government spokesperson Doxa Komodromou, which has turned into a scandal involving the University of Cyprus and the Presidential Palace.

As revealed by Michaelides, Komodromou was accredited over time for preparing eulogies for national anniversaries, funerals, and speeches.

Komodromou, as reported by the Auditor General, was also being paid overtime for attending meetings of the Cabinet and following President Nikos Christodoulides at meetings with media, which are part of her job description.

Ministers and government officials don’t get paid overtime, but an exception was made for Komodromou because she decided to stay at the University of Cyprus when appointed, so she was seconded on a lower salary.

She chose to stay, and the government has tried to bolster her salary via overtime payments.

Michaelides submitted data to Parliament as part of a parliamentary audit by the Finance Committee, revealing that some 50 requests were submitted by the Presidency for the payment of Komodromou’s overtime by the University of Cyprus, totalling €2,486, for March–May 2023.

The money was paid, and now “Komodromou will be asked to return the money,” Michaelides told Parliament.

The initially requested remuneration for Komodromou for March to December 2023 has been reduced to €41,758, down from the initial request of €51,795, which sparked the overtime pay scandal.

The payments were made with the blessings of the Presidency, who had presented evidence to the University of Cyprus that recorded the overtime for which she worked beyond her normal working hours.

The monetary compensation received by Komodromou was €8 per hour for weekdays and €7 for weekends and holidays.

According to documentation presented by the Presidency, Komodromou had requested overtime payment for working from 2 pm to 5 pm on 2 April to prepare a speech for then Deputy Minister of Culture Michalis Hatzigiannis.

On another occasion, Komodromou requested overtime payment for working from 10 am to 2 pm to prepare a speech for President Christodoulides delivered on the national anniversary of 1 April.

Also, overtime claims include accompanying the President to meetings at Phileleftheros and Haravgi media groups and attending a Boy Scouts’ parade.

Michaelides told MPs Komodromou also logged overtime from 3 pm to 12 midnight to attend a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Troodos.

Michaelides also revealed that Komodromou is not the only person working for the Presidency who receives compensation for overtime work.

President Christodoulides’ secretary and the secretary to the First Lady Philippa Karseras have also submitted claims.

As he told MPs, the secretary to the First Lady was compensated for overtime work logged in for accompanying Karseras to various events.