Weather Forecast


Former Afton interim administrator accused of abusing city-issued credit card in Albert Lea

Former Afton interim city administrator Jim Norman has found himself in some hot water at his current job as the city manager in Albert Lea.

Norman has been charged with a felony count of permitting false claims against government by a public officer, a felony count of theft and a gross misdemeanor charge of misconduct by a public officer.

The Afton City Council discussed the charges facing Norman at its special meeting on Sept. 7

The charges were filed with the Freboorn County Court late last month.

The charges stemmed from Norman's alleged misuse of a city-issued credit card, according to the criminal complaint.

The city accuses Norman of allegedly charging $2,741 of city money on personal items such as a refrigerator, groceries and a pair of women's shoes.

Norman was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 27.

Norman began as city manager in Albert Lea on May 3.

According to other media reports, Norman claims that his expenses were related to moving expenses that were allowed under his employment agreement with the city.

According to reports, Albert Lea agreed to reimburse Norman up to $5,000 for costs incurred during his move from St. Paul to Albert Lea. The contract detailed moving expenses to include packing, moving, storage, unpacking, insurance, lodging, meals and mileage costs.

During the Afton City Council meeting last week, council members agreed to direct the city accountant to perform a review of accounting records to see if Norman misused any city funds during his two years in Afton.

Afton does not present its employees with a city-issued credit card. The city reimburses its employees.

"We don't have any reason to think that anything improper happened," council member Bill Palmquist said.

Even though the city council did not have any concerns over Norman's use of city money during his tenure, the council said they would feel more comfortable looking into it.

"It's just being responsible managers of public money," council member Joe Richter said.

Norman is scheduled to appear in court, in Freborn County, on Sept. 22.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

(651) 702-0976