A.L. City Council accepts contract for new city manager

Published 4:48 pm Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Albert Lea City Council has officially accepted the contract with Interim Afton City Manager Jim Norman to become Albert Lea’s new city manager.

During what was a special council meeting Wednesday afternoon, council members unanimously voted to hire Norman for the position and gave the details of his contract.

Norman, one of five finalists interviewed for the position, will begin part time in City Hall April 12 and gradually work up to working full time in the position on May 3.

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“We look forward to being part of the community — not just living here but actually being part of the community,” Norman said.

Interim City Manager and City Attorney Lee Bjorndal said Norman will have a starting annual salary of $95,000.

He will be given a monthly automobile allowance of $500, three weeks paid vacation and up to $5,000 reimbursement for relocation expenses.

His contract can be terminated with or without cause, Bjorndal said.

If he is terminated without cause, he will have a six-month severance package; however, if he is terminated with cause or resigns there will be no severance.

He will be subject to an annual review by the City Council.

Norman, who grew up in Blue Earth County, has been a city manager for over 16 years and worked in the public sector for 22 years, Bjorndal said.

He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from Mankato State University in Mankato in 1977 and a master’s degree in urban and regional studies from Mankato State University in 1988.

Prior to his position as the interim city manager in Afton, he worked as part owner of Norman and Associates in Ramsey; city administrator in Ramsey, population 24,000; city manager in Montevideo, population 5,500; city administrator in Renville, population 1,500; county coordinator in Dodge County; and assistant city manager in White Bear Lake.

Norman said he and his wife, Oksana, and step-daughter Mary-Violet have just begun their search for a new home in the community.

He will fill a position vacated by former City Manager Victoria Simonsen, who announced in December she had accepted a job as town manager in Lyons, Colo.

After hearing about Simonsen’s resignation, the council hired The Brimeyer Group, a consultant search firm, to conduct a search for the city’s new manager.

The firm received 71 applications, interviewed 18 and then narrowed down the candidates to 10 to present to the council.

The council narrowed down the field from 10 to five candidates, and then on March 19 and 20, the council, city staff and a citizens panel met with and interviewed the candidates.