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From: Scott Ellis <[address removed]
Date: Sun, 22 Jul[masked]:21:16
To: <[address removed]
Subject: Clerk Hides Blueware Records with Chamber Endorsement
It's not Illegal, it's just a spat
There is much more to this story than the Florida Today is willing to cover.
If the Clerk's Office is so proud of the contract and the award why is there such an issue delivering simple invoices and contracts of BlueWare AKA BlueGem?
On May 24th (on video) at a
candidate forum Clerk Needelman stated no firm (of the three respondents) had yet been selected to even begin negotiating a contract. The Invitation to Negotiate went out May 4th and was done May 11th, seven days for a multi-million dollar contract. During this time frame the contract for BlueGem had already been prepared. On May 14th it was sent to outside attorneys to review and their review was discussed May 21st. On May 23rd the Clerk's Office sent a wire transfer of $500,000 to Blueware in Michigan to initiate the contract.
Does this sound like what Needelman said the FOLLOWING night - no firm had even been selected for negotiations?
The second bidder came in at $2.9 million, far less than BlueGem's $8.5 million, was all inclusive, and is a firm which has done court records before. BlueWare/BlueGem has never done court records.
The contract allegedly signed June 29th is vague and nebulous. I believe the real contract was signed
Where is the Florida Today analysis of this entire bidding and award process?
Why have the second and third bidders not been contacted for comment?
Why has the Clerk not been asked to justify why BlueGem is $5.6 million better than Fidelity, another bidder which has actually done this work before?
Why has the Clerk not been asked how he can claim on May 24th no bidder has been selected yet sent a wire transfer the day before of $500,000 to BlueGem?
Why were electronic transfers of a total of $900,000 from March to June to BlueGem not uploaded into the Clerk's financial system until July 9th?
Why has Matt Reed not written an editorial decrying the blatant disregard of the Clerk for the Florida Public Records Laws?
Why is a constitutional officers blatant disregard for public records laws called a 'spat'?
If the roles were reversed, with Scott Ellis
as Clerk and Needelman as challenger, does anyone think the same softball story lines and absent editorials would have been printed?
If the roles were reversed, and Scott Ellis had awarded an $8.5 million contract to an unproven firm represented by a former lobbying partner, over a proven firm which had bid $2.9 million, in a seven day sham bidding fiasco, would the Florida Today ask as few meaningful questions of myself as they have of Mr. Needelman?
I just watched the video of Mitch Needelman's taking the Florida Today on a Potemkin tour of the Parkway Records Center. To also view please click on the link above to get the webpage up. Can someone please lend a thought to the Florida Today? We again have another softball 'interview' of Mitch Needelman. "We're booked", "we're full", claims the Clerk.
Did anyone stop to think this is the DEAD FILE area? Look at the video - what is
missing? ALL the active file room employees. Guess what, they are over in the NEW Records Center which is hurricane resistant and climate controlled.
The Melbourne Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce, fully aware of my concerns with sweetheart contracts, flagrant disregard of the public records law, and dysfunctional operations, chose to endorse Mitch Needelman. It's an endorsement I will be sure to remind them of in thirty days.
Oddly enough, much of my interview focused on the funnel of taxpayer money to favored insider business through Community Redevelopment Districts (CRAs) and the whopper of a wealth transfer, the new North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ).
I fully explained the problems in the north county are not more money to throw to people but stifling regulations and lack of necessary zoning. Only myself and one other person in the room had ever done a project in Titusville, and we
both agreed they were red tape nightmares.
The Melbourne Chamber of Commerce has a large membership which supports free enterprise, but it has had decades of leadership which consistently supports big government and taxpayer subsidy to those on the inside making the right connections. The lack of endorsement was actually not a surprise but a consistent position of over twenty years - free market limited government individuals do not 'fit in' with the Chamber's vision for Brevard County.
Scott Ellis http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120721/NEWS01/307210026/Records-spat-off-court
Records spat off to court
Ellis demands details on deal for digitizing legal documents
12:44 AM, Jul 21, 2012
Description: Description: Clerk of
Courts Records Center
Stephen Hart files records at the Brevard County Clerk of Courts records center in Titusville. / Craig Bailey, FLORIDA TODAY
Longtime political rivals Scott Ellis and Mitch Needelman will be in court Monday to publicly air their dispute over public records.
Ellis, who is challenging the incumbent Needelman in the Aug. 14 Republican primary for Brevard County Clerk of Court, sued Needelman, claiming the clerk has improperly withheld public records related to a document-scanning contract that has become a hot-button issue of the campaign in recent weeks. Ellis was Needelman's predecessor as clerk, but resigned with two years left in his third term in office in 2010.
They are scheduled to argue the case Monday morning in Titusville before Circuit Judge John Harris.
Ellis, who said he will represent himself at the court hearing, has claimed
during his campaign that Needelman helped steer the $8.52 million, five-year contract for the electronic scanning of paper documents to a firm with ties to Needelman and his associates.
Ellis said he is trying to determine how Needelman's office chose the process for awarding the contract and how Melbourne-based BlueGem LLC won the project, although its contract price was significantly higher than at least one other bidder. Ellis also is looking for details on payments made to companies affiliated with BlueGem, as well as certain information related to the outsourcing of staff within Needelman's office.
Needelman has responded that the contract was awarded to BlueGem fair and square, and that it will help modernize the office by eliminating the need to store roomfuls of paper documents once the documents are put in a digital format accessible by computer.
In his legal filing, Ellis alleges that Needelman was trying to withhold public records
Ellis requested about this contract and other matters until after the Aug. 14 primary. Ellis is seeking a court order requiring Needelman to "fully produce the public records requested," as well as others that "may be further requested at a hearing on this petition."
Since filing the suit, Ellis has received some of the records he has requested, but said in an interview: "They dragged this thing out for months, and when you finally get it, they gouge you for it" with what Ellis contends are high fees for fulfilling the request.
Needelman said he had to delay providing Ellis with some of the documents because the contract still was under negotiation at the time, and the records were not public during such negotiations. He said Ellis was charged fees at a standard rate for the office.
"My position is we've done everything legally. We've done everything by the books," Needelman said, adding that he will abide by whatever the judge rules.
though, said he still doesn't have all the documents he has requested, charging that Needelman's office is "sandbagging everything."
Needelman, in turn, said Ellis is constantly bombarding Needelman's office with emailed requests for information, costing the clerk's office staff time and expense.
"He's still trying to run this office," Needelman said.
Merrily Longacre, chief staff counsel for the Brevard County Clerk of Court, will represent Needelman during Monday's court hearing.
Contact Berman at[masked] or [address removed]
Shazam, I am so shocked. My perfect record with the Chamber and the Florida Today remains intact. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Business-Voice-of-East-Central-Florida/119626191400916
Business Voice Priorities
Our 2010 priorities include supporting pro-business candidates at the state and local levels, as well as supporting pro-business legislations and ordinances.
The Purpose of Business Voice is:
1. To educate its members regarding political candidates and issues affecting matters of interest and concern to those members;
2.To assist its members in organizing themselves for effective political action;
3.To promote the views of its members in regard to matters of public policy and governmental action;
4.To support candidates for state, county and local elected offices who are supportive of policies which foster sound and responsible economic growth; and
awareness on issues of importance to the business community
Business Voice of East Central Florida <http://www.facebook.com/pages/Business-Voice-of-East-Central-Florida/119626191400916
July 13 <http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=474032889293576&id=119626191400916
(MELBOURNE) - Business Voice of East Central Florida has made its first round of candidate endorsements for the following local candidates in their respective
Clerk of the Circuit Court - Mitch Needelman
Brevard County School Board District 3 - Amy Kneessy
State's Attorney - Phil Archer
Public Defender Circuit 18 - Blaise Trettis
Canaveral Port Authority District 2- Joe Matheny
Brevard County School Board District 4 - Karen Henderson
Travis Proctor of ndtArtemis, Business Voice Candidate Endorsement Committee Chairman, said the endorsements were made after his subcommittee reviewed candidate questionnaires and completed in-depth candidate interviews. Two more rounds of candidate endorsements from Business Voice are forthcoming.
Business Voice is a not for profit, non-partisan committee of continuous existence (or CCE) formed by the Melbourne Regional Chamber in 2008.
Quick note from the Brevard CountybLiberty Catalyst
"We need all the help we can get to insure victory for our Liberty Candidates. You can go to our website at www.libertycatalystfund.org
Paid political advertisement, paid for and approved by Scott Ellis, Republican for Clerk of Court
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