Editorial: Don’t use Brimeyer Group

Published 9:44 am Thursday, September 2, 2010

Considering the felony charges the Albert Lea city manager finds himself in, the Albert Lea City Council should not use The Brimeyer Group when finding its city managers in the future.

Recall, this is the recruitment company that provided the council with five finalists, three of which had been fired from previous jobs. That should have been a red flag right there that the headhunter was providing some low-grade candidates. The council had every right to ask the recruiter to go back to the drawing board.

Now it should be asking for a refund.

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Furthermore, the City Council should not use a recruitment company in the future. Such firms are overrated.

On March 12, this Editorial Board wrote: “In the private sector, companies search for leaders often through trade associations, advertising and personal connections prior to going to a recruiter. Why did the city feel the need to call a recruiter so quickly in the search for a manager? Freeborn County leaders, by comparison, found an administrator by trying the search on their own first.”

At this point, it seems to be good advice that went unheeded.

The League of Minnesota Cities is a good place to post a notice for a city manager, for starters. There are many websites and newspapers, too.

The Brimeyer Group works with Verified Credentials Inc. to do background checks. It checked Jim Norman’s credit, criminal and education history. Verified Credentials found no discrepancies; what seems possible is the check never was performed. Just look at the police investigation.

It says Norman told the city finance director he had no credit. Wouldn’t a credit check reveal that? Of course.

The investigation also alleges Norman told the city finance director he was trying to clear up his own personal debt, so much so that he was looking into the federal stimulus legislation that negotiates credit card debt.

Again, a credit check — a good one anyway — would show that Norman had debt problems.

Lacking credit is not exactly the trait of a leader who can guide a city through Tim Pawlenty’s cuts to local government.

The city can point its fingers at Brimeyer, and Brimeyer can point at Verified Credentials. However, at the end of the day, someone dropped the ball prior to the rush to hire last March. The taxpayers who read this newspaper deserve the answers.