Audit seeks return of leave pay
Culberson case time off cited

Thursday, May 14, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer and Associated Press

BLANCHESTER, Ohio -- A state auditor's report released Wednesday recommended that Debra Culberson, who worked for the village water board, return $358.50 for work she missed in connection with the disappearance of her daughter Carrie.

Mrs. Culberson had requested the special audit.

"It was a mistake," Mrs. Culberson said Wednesday. "What happened wasn't done intentionally. I used sick time instead of vacation time. It (the difference) is just going to be transferred." She was working for the Blanchester Board of Public Affairs when Carrie, 22, disappeared in August 1996. Vincent Doan of Blanchester, Carrie's former boyfriend, was convicted in 1997 of murdering her. Carrie's body and car were never found.

Mrs. Culberson took several days of sick leave immediately following her daughter's disappearance. A year later, the village police chief questioned her use of sick leave.

"I was surprised," she said. "What more can happen to a person? In my state of mind, I was not concerned about whether I would use sick days or vacation days."

State Auditor Jim Petro's report recommended that Mrs. Culberson reimburse the village $105 for discrepancies in time sheets reported in February and June. The clerk reported a 12-hour variance.

It recommended another $105 reimbursement for 12 hours Mrs. Culberson had claimed as "subpoena leave" following Mr. Doan's trial.

It recommended a $78.50 reimbursement for nine hours Mrs. Culberson spent at a village council meeting and pretrial hearing for former Police Chief Richard Payton, who has been charged with obstructing the investigation of Miss Culberson's disappearance.

It also recommended $70 reimbursement for eight hours Mrs. Culberson claimed as sick leave so she could attend tapings of the Montel Williams and Oprah Winfrey television shows.

The report said the village could accept cash reimbursement or reduce Mrs. Culberson's sick leave or vacation credit by the number of hours in question.

Mrs. Culberson said she had the time coming to her -- whether it was sick leave or vacation leave.

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