Monday, June 25, 2012

Ellis: Taxpayers Foot Bill for Endless Self Promotion of Mr. Needelman

VIERA, Florida -- The Brevard County Clerk’s Office has been mobilized to fund the re-election efforts of the current Clerk, Mr. Needelman.  Numerous uses of Clerk funding and personnel is being done to continue to push the Clerk’s name out to the public, often for no reason other than to raise the name recognition.

For example, radio ads ran for weeks on WMMB (and maybe other stations) promoting the Clerk’s website and advertising on the website.  Rather than have ads paid for by Zephyr Communications, the firm which sells the ads, the taxpayers paid for the radio ads (with some bogus disclaimer about being paid for by ‘advertising revenue’) steering individuals to first Mr. Needelman, Clerk of the Courts webpage, and second Zephyr Communications, a private company.  The taxpayers pay to advertise Mr. Needelman and Zephyr, he gets the name ID and they get the business traffic.  Heck of a deal.

Then came the bomb of a meeting inviting law enforcement to view a product of the Clerk’s new imaging vendor, Blueware.  The Digital Data Pen supposedly would save time for the police if they’d only buy it from Blueware, and wait there’s more, the Clerk is hiring a Grants Writer and maybe he can get some free money for the pens.  Not much response so far, but not to worry, the project will continue to be pushed by Clerk’s personnel, public expense for private profit.

Early in the year the Clerk tried to drag County Commissioners into some publication he was calling an annual report.  When I asked how much did the report cost to prepare, print, and then mail, I was told the project was on hold.  Since the timing for an annual report would be in March after the County’s Annual Financial Report has been completed, evidently this table top magazine will not be back until next January.

By the way, it was to be another freebie, not paid for by taxpayer funds.  Since the project went on hold we may have to wait to know who was on the hook for the expenses.

Two large volumes entitled ‘Scott Ellis Book of Lies’ have been published with voluminous public records included.  The Needelman campaign has yet to pay one nickel for any of the office work necessary to collect and assemble these records.  While I have been charged hundreds of dollars for slow rolled copies, including the phenomenal $155,000 for seven CDs with my office e-mails on them, the Needelman campaign gets the full use of public records and Clerk staff to prepare his campaign material.

Lastly is the totally shameless pandering to the jurors.  Jurors are being hardcopy mailed and e-mailed a new letter (never done before) pandering to their jury duty.  There is NOTHING in the letter in anywhere near the large font of the name ‘Mitch Needleman’.  The piece is simply more shameless name promotion.

Although the office is critically shorthanded as operations is starved to save money for large capital contracts, Clerk’s employees evidently are preparing and mailing these letters. For those receiving it by e-mail, I have to figure the Clerk is taking down private e-mail addresses and using them as a mailing list, maintained by the staff.

 - Scott Ellis

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