Councilmembers at Tuesday's city budget meeting

Norman City Council reallocated $865,000 of the Norman Police Department’s proposed budget increase last June. The council is considering whether to reallocate some NPD funds again this year during Tuesday’s meeting.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has concluded its investigation into the Norman City Council’s alleged violation of the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act, and is turning its findings over to the local district attorney.

Cleveland County Sheriff Chris Amason requested in January that the OSBI investigate a criminal misdemeanor complaint against the Norman City Council for the body’s alleged violation of the meeting act.

The county sheriff has the authority to request an independent investigation by the OSBI to determine whether criminal charges are necessary or not. Amason requested the investigation after Judge Thomas Baldwin found in December that the council violated the Open Meeting Act with a “deceptively worded or materially obscured” agenda for its June 16, 2020, meeting, a ruling that the State Supreme Court upheld last week.

The sheriff’s office announced Wednesday that the OSBI’s investigation is over.

“I sincerely appreciate the work of the OSBI in this investigation,” Amason said in a statement Wednesday. “It is now up to a prosecuting authority to make a decision based on applicable laws as to whether charges will be filed.”

A spokesperson for Cleveland County DA Greg Mashburn said Wednesday the office is unable to comment on the investigation because it has yet to receive a copy of the findings.

The OSBI did not respond to The Transcript’s request for comment.

The Transcript reported in January that if councilors are convicted of the misdemeanor violation, each one could face up to a $500 fine or up to one year in county jail, according to state law.

A spokesperson for The City of Norman said the city is aware that the OSBI concluded its investigation, but by press time Wednesday, the city had yet to receive a copy of the investigation results and was unable to comment on them.

Transcript Staff Writer Emma Keith contributed to this report.

Reese Gorman covers COVID-19, local politics and elections for The Transcript; reach him at rgorman@normantranscript.com or @reeseg_3.

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Reese Gorman covers politics and the COVID-19 pandemic for The Norman Transcript. He started as an intern in May of 2020 and transitioned into his current position as a staff writer in August of 2020.