Emails released by Brevard County Clerk of the Court Scott Ellis show that former Clerk Mitch Needelman may have misled voters during last year’s campaign regarding a contract Needleman had with a staffing company.
Ellis claims that Needleman had said last summer that he did not know whether a former colleague was involved in Source2. The person in question is Matt DuPree, who now works for BlueWare, Inc., a company that holds a hotly disputed digitizing contract with the Clerk’s office.
Ellis provided emails to Brevard Times that show in February 2011, Clerk’s attorney Merrily Longacre referenced “Mitch” and “Matt” in a strand of “S2 - Confidential Attorney Work Product” emails to Mark Gager, a Deputy Clerk who worked for Needelman.
“Mitch stated on Bill Mick (radio talk show on WMMB) and I believe one of the forums he did not know if Matt was involved with Source2,” Ellis said.
The conversation can be heard on the following link from “The Bill Mick Live Show:” http://www.wmmbam.com/pages/wmmbvideos.html?article=10237647
On February 17 at 12:22 pm Longacre wrote, “That is what I did. Once you, Mitch, Matt or whoever tells me the results of yesterday, all red will disappear and the contract will be our contract proposal.”
Then at 2:23 pm, she wrote again, “I called everyone including Mitch and left messages that I needed the mark-up information plus the final census. So, I am on hold just for the minute. Thanks for working with me on this. The contract is such a big deal that I am very very very happy to have more heads than mine. But, we have spent all we have to for Mike Grogan. We can carry on from here once I have that final information. Sean sent a text to Matt to get in touch with me so I will know what the final figures and tally are. M”
At the time, Ellis claimed the negotiations and contract with Source2 were done improperly. In an interview with Brevard Times on June 25, 2012, Needelman explained the contract .
“I reduced the number of supervisors from 80 to 56 by combining some departments. This reduced a duplication of processes. For instance, there had previously been two Finance Departments – one dealing with the state and the other dealing with the county. I made them into one.
“I terminated positions, not people. However, I also broke up some family units who had worked together for years. Many didn’t like that,” Needelman added.
Needelman claims that this move – and others – have resulted in a yearly savings of $1.2 million, much of which has been re-invested to assist all employees – those still employed by the state and those out-sourced.
“We now subsidize portions their health insurance and pay for county holidays. We assist with dental, eye coverage, long and short-term disability and life insurance. And we have planned for the future by building in a potential 15% increase in insurance,” Needelman said.
Needelman concluded, “I put my career on the line by ‘privatizing’ the Clerk’s office. But – as of now – the bills are paid and we have money in the bank. I have a vision to continue cutting the budget while maintaining services, returning money to the state and county, and keeping people employed.
“Source2 will be leaving the beginning of March,” Ellis said. “We are making decisions on which of the new Source2 people to keep. We have a very good relationship as the contract winds down.”
Ellis added that he believes there is more to be uncovered. “There really is a lot here at work even after their months of scrubbing,” Ellis said.
Mitch Needelman and Matt DuPree did not respond to requests for comment.