State auditor won’t take further action in Norman case

Published 11:30 am Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Minnesota State Auditor’s Office will not be taking further action against embroiled Albert Lea City Manager Jim Norman, according to a letter sent to Albert Lea Mayor Mike Murtaugh last week.

The letter, dated Sept. 1, states the state Auditor’s Office is aware of concerns that have been raised about the use of the city credit card by Norman and that an investigation into those allegations was conducted by the Waseca Police Department.

The Waseca County Attorney’s Office in August filed criminal charges against Norman, including two felony counts and one gross misdemeanor count. The charges allege that Norman spent more than $2,300 on the city credit card for personal charges, including groceries, restaurants and women’s shoes.

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After the charges came out, Norman has said he was mistaken on how the credit card could be used but that he had no intention of deceiving the city.

“It appears that the internal controls the city had in place resulted in the prompt detection of this matter,” the letter states.

Though the letter stated the state would not be taking any further action against Norman, it did, however, make a few recommendations to the city regarding its policies.

It stated that during the review, the state Auditor’s Office noted that Norman signed an expense voucher as both the employee submitting the expense and as the approval authority. Norman also appeared to have approved individual receipts with the claim.

“We recommend that, in the future, someone other than the city manager approve expense reimbursement requests submitted by the city manager,” the letter continues.

It also recommended that the city take the opportunity to review its credit card policies and procedures.

Norman is scheduled to make his first appearance on the criminal charges Sept. 22. He is on paid administrative leave.

Calls to Norman and Murtaugh on Friday both went unreturned.