Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Charles Parker: Clerk's Race Heats Up

It’s getting nasty - and there’s still over two months before voting.  It is very evident when they are face-to-face that incumbent Brevard County Clerk of Court Mitch Needelman and former office-holder Scott Ellis do not like each other.  It is also evident that both think they have the facts on their side.
Ellis calls the clerk’s office “chaos.”  Needelman calls it “efficient.”  Needelman says he has saved the county money.  Ellis says Needelman has not followed state mandates on raises.  Needelman says that he can offer contracts without RFPs.  Ellis says he shouldn’t - especially when friends are involved.
Connors versus McEnroe.  Back and forth - back and forth - both looking for the put-away shot - not caring who gets hit in the process.
There are lots of questions - because these two men have different answers on about everything.
Are they “temporary employees” or contract labor?  Is there a $2.5 million deficit or is the office “running in the black?”  Have there been illegal raises or are they “re-investing in the workforce?”  Was Ellis really sick when he left office with two years left in his term?  Does Needelman do email?
Who is Matt DuPree and why should we care?
I watched these two men duke it out for 50 minutes one night last week.  They were aggressive.  They punched and counter-punched.  They both sounded like they knew what they were talking about.  But also - at times - they both sounded petty and condescending.  Much of the hour was certainly not their finest hour.
And - in the end - they both looked bad. 
Needelman asked Ellis for proof of his claims.  Never ask an opponent a question you don’t already know the answer to.  Ellis held up two binders - and didn’t say a word.  Many in the crowd laughed at Needelman. 
Ellis then tried to find out why it took him so long and cost him so much to get documents from the clerk’s office when Needelman got them quicker and cheaper.  Needelman mentioned he got his copies at Office Depot and Staples.  The rest of the crowd groaned at Ellis.
I left - and I guess missed more “amateur hour” starring their supporters.  It seems there was a near fracas between the camps as they waited for the straw ballots to be counted.  Nice…
Over the next two months, I plan to dig and find the answers to the questions posed above.  I've already asked the candidates - we'll see if they deliver. 
Voters deserve honesty from their public servants - not sniping.  Voters need the truth before voting.
Stay tuned - it will be a long hot summer - but the truth we shall find.

You can follow Charles Parker on Twitter @cpbrevard and on BlogTalkRadio from 8:00 - 8:30 pm Sunday evenings -


  1. If you would take the time to dig just a little, Mr. Parker, you would better understand the debate. One does not get public records at Office Depot. Matt DuPree gets hired by a company and they somehow get multi-million Clerk contracts. I have all the revenue numbers directly from the state. I hae the letter from the state opposing raises, and you heard Needleman's rationale for $1.2 million in raises as he claimed a $2.5 million deficit. I've done a public records request on the Needelman e-mails, he does none himself. There are no savings if the money is not returned, spending on other things is not a saving. I've offered you any data you desire if you e-mail me at [email protected] You have written exactly what Needelman desires - the man says everything is a lie and rather than check for the truth the media simply calls it a he-said-she-said debate. All the information is available if one takes a little time to seek and verify it.

  2. Likewise had you stayed you'd not make the comment about the fracus 'between camps'. On your Sunday radio hour you yourself spoke about Ms. Needelman's journey to the back of the room to instigate things. You missed Ms. McDaniels storming out flipping everyone off with both hands with a loud f-u for everyone. You missed her husbands belligerance in the hallway, his call to 911, his belittling of the BCSO commander, and his antics in the parking lot with deputies waving his hands all over the place demanding his boss 'f'n back me up. You also missed those who had been harassed calmly completing statements inside for the deputies who were called. Your media interpretation is again exactly as desired, more he-fought-she-fought rather than objectively finding out (from someone other than I) what really happened. There were plenty of people there, ask a few.

  3. Mr. Ellis - I do not normally respond to comments, but I will here. You asked for my email address so that you could send me info. I sent that to you Sunday night. As of yet, I have not received anything from you.

    This piece was my personal initial opinion and view of the events of that evening. As I said, more hard reporting to come.

    Since I do not have a dog in this hunt, you can be assured that my reporting will be objective.

    1. I did not receive an e-mail from you, Mr. Parker. I have some Facebook type links received but no e-mail address to use to send you the information.

  4. I replied to your FB message to me. It is [email protected] Thanks.

    Also - just for accuracy's sake - on my radio show I do not believe I identified the woman who journeyed to the back of the room. I have never met Mrs. Needelman.