Norman’s record in Afton comes back clean

Published 5:00 pm Monday, September 20, 2010

All of Albert Lea City Manager Jim Norman’s expenses during his time as interim city manager in Afton were “legitimate, reasonable and related to city business,” Afton City Accountant Tom Niedzwiecki concluded in a letter to Afton city officials Monday.

Jim Norman

The conclusion came after the Afton City Council directed Niedzwiecki to review accounting records from Norman’s time in the city, which spanned from 2008 through April of this year.

Though the City Council members stated they did not have concerns over Norman’s use of city money during his tenure, in light of the allegations against Norman in Albert Lea, they decided they would feel more comfortable looking into it. Charges filed in Freeborn County District Court allege he misused the Albert Lea city-issued credit card for personal expenses.

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In the review, Niedzwiecki looked at four specific areas.

He reviewed the detail expenses submitted by Norman for direct reimbursement, which totaled about $1,097, all of which he said were legitimate.

In Afton, employees are reimbursed for city-approved expenses. They are not issued city credit cards.

Niedzwiecki also reviewed all payroll paid to Norman and concluded it appeared appropriate for the time Norman worked for the city and in accordance with his employment contract.

In addition, the accountant reviewed total annual revenue and expenses for all funds from Jan. 1, 2008, through Aug. 31, 2010, looking for any unusual or significant trends. None was found.

Lastly, five accounts that are typically associated with discretionary expenditures were selected for a more-detailed review. These accounts were for miscellaneous expenses, other administration costs, travel and mileage, membership and dues, and seminars and education.

Again, all expenses within these accounts appeared “legitimate, reasonable and related to city business,” Niedzwiecki stated.

Norman stated the findings were what he expected.

He has been on paid administrative leave in Albert Lea since Aug. 27. He began as Albert Lea city manager May 3.

He specifically faces two felony counts and one gross misdemeanor count regarding the allegations. He is expected to appear in Freeborn County District Court Sept. 29.