LINCOLN, Neb. — A legal opinion issued by the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office says nearly $58,000 in payments made to three departing Nebraska Parole Board members for unused sick and vacation time were improper.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the opinion, issued Friday, agreed with a finding by the State Auditor’s Office that the payments should not have been made.

The state auditor in May criticized the agency for making the payments in 2014-15. The chairwoman of the five-member board, Rosalyn Cotton, defended the payouts, saying they had been a longtime practice.

The opinion Friday found that appointed members of the Parole Board do not fit the definition of “state employees,” who are entitled to such payouts when they leave a state job.

Information from: Omaha World-Herald,

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