Ambroise will continue work on school board; charges not related to her position

Published 7:23 pm Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Debra Ambroise, who was arrested and bonded out on charges of theft from the City of Port Arthur on Tuesday and was fired from her job at the City, will not step down from her elected position as a school district trustee.

Ambroise, a school board trustee for the Port Arthur Independent School District, was asked whether she intended to remain active as a PAISD trustee as she arrived for a board workshop Wednesday.

“We’re here to work,” Ambroise said. “I’m going to continue to do what I was elected to do.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Port Arthur Police Lt. M. Blitch and PAISD Superintendent Mark Porterie reiterated that Ambroise’s charges have nothing to do with the school district.

“I want to make it perfectly clear this incident involving her has absolutely nothing to do with the school district,” Blitch said.

Port Arthur City Manager Brian McDougal confirmed he had signed the paperwork for her termination from her position as planner with the City’s transit department Wednesday morning.

According to a probable cause affidavit from the office of Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Kenneth Dollinger, police were told that Ambroise falsified payroll records in May 2016. The document states she made false entries into a computer system on five dates, entering regular hours worked where the payroll entries for those dates should have been either vacation, sick leave or compensatory. Ronald McElhose, Ambroise’s boss, discovered the false entries.

The tampering with payroll records and defrauding the city allegations allegedly occurred between November 2015 and April 2016.

The document says the false payroll times totaled 28 ½ hours, and at an hourly rate of $31.29, totals $892.02.

Ambroise was charged with aggregate theft by a public servant and five counts of tampering with a government record. Two of her charges are felonies.

Mary Meaux/The News

Twitter: @MaryMeauxPANews