BREVARD COUNTY, Florida -- According to a press release release sent to Brevard Times, Brevard County Clerk of Court incumbent candidate Mitch Needelman has been named a finalist for the Tax Cutter Award by the Florida Taxpayer's Union. The release follows in its entirety, which is followed by a response from Needelman's opponent, former Brevard County Clerk of Court Scott Ellis:
(Article Revised 05/19/12) The Florida Taxpayers Union, Florida’s largest taxpayer organization has selected Brevard Clerk of Courts Mitch Needleman to receive the FLORIDA TAXCUTTER AWARD for 2012.
“The committee was very impressed with Mr. Needleman’s success in reducing overhead, lowering taxes by returning tax dollars to the county coffers and the expanded use of outsourcing to provide permanent reductions to taxpayers,” stated Keith Recine, Chairman of the Florida Taxpayers Union.
In addition to a savings of over $1.4 million to taxpayers by reducing overhead and sourcing remaining services, FTU representatives included the following in their report:
“Needelman adjusted outdated pay rates to reflect current times and increase staff moral by raising pay-grades, reduced payroll expenses by outsourcing entry and early level staff payroll to a private company, reduced insurance costs by illuminating the need to pay more than $300K in premiums on employees who refused benefits, and renegotiated contracts to lower service costs. Needelman returned $200K to taxpayers via the State of Florida and Brevard County Board of Commissioners. Needelman extended services and a new program, the “One Stop Passport Service, introduced “Attorney-view” software for court users. As a direct result of Needelman’s actions, while 65/67 County Clerks consider laying off 900 deputy clerks, Needelman can absorb an additional $1 million in 2012 budget cuts without taking such measures.”
Other nominees that were vetted included: Governor Rick Scott (R-Florida); Senator Marco Rubio (R-Miami); The Honorable Randy Johnson (R-Sebring); Ax the Tax Chairman Doug Guetzloe; State Senator Greg Evers (R-Baker); Osceola County Clerk of the Courts Malcolm Thompson (D-St. Cloud); Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R-Miami/Dade); The Honorable Tony Ferentinos (R-Kissimmee); The Honorable Mark Cross (R-Kissimmee).
The TAXCUTTER AWARD will be presented at the upcoming annual luncheon of the Florida Taxpayers Union to be held in Orlando on May 30th.
The FTU is the official affiliate of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), America’s oldest and most venerable taxpayer organization.
Scott Ellis Response:
Garrett Pomichter may handle press releases for various candidates, but I bet you other candidates do not pay Garrett Pomichter $1,000 a month from the taxpayer’s dollars to be their Public Spokesman.
I also do not believe Mr. Pomichter has EVER identified himself to the media to be a paid spokesman for the Clerk’s Office. The Press Release (which I had not seen) should be clearly identified as a product of the Brevard County Clerk’s Office. This is just another example of the 2012 campaign being run at the expense of the taxpayers as the resources of the Clerk’s Office are used for re-election. Back in 2008, Garrett Pomichter and Matt DuPree fabricated a Veteran’s award for Mr. Needelman.
I expect it has never been awarded again. In this case a fabricated story (I believe) was sent to the Taxpayers Union. I have requested the story for a week, no response from the FTU awards group. None. Matt Nye [Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida] requested the same. Nothing. The man rarely comes to work, so the long hours comment is ludicrous.
No doubt the Florida Taxpayers Union received the same song as dance as we have received here about all the millions of dollars allegedly saved. However, if one truly has saved ‘millions’ I expect more than just $104,000 to be returned to the funding body. Virtually nothing has been saved, money has simply been shifted into millions of dollars of no-bid contracts. I checked out the Florida Taxpayers Union website and nothing is there at all for 2012. Scott Ellis (his own public relations spokesperson and not on the county nickel).
Garret Pomichter Response:
Garret Pomichter Response:
I would note in the interest of accuracy, that I have not been under contract to the Brevard Clerk’s Office since near this time last year and have not received any further compensation. Also of note, my information was received from the Florida Tax Payers Union, and confirmed through Mitch Needelman directly, and not from the Clerk’s office.