Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Clerk of Court Staffer Endorses Needelman, Ellis Responds

TITUSVILLE, Fla.  - Mitch Needelman's Executive Assistant, Renee McGrory, has endorsed Mr. Needelman for the 2012 Brevard County Clerk of Court's race.  Needelman's opponent, Scott Ellis, has issued a response to the endorsement.  Both of which are published below:


Please allow me to introduce you to someone I have a lot of respect for-MITCH NEEDELMAN, Clerk.

During the time that I have worked for the Clerk of Courts, I have had the opportunity to work for three different Clerks; Mr. Crawford, Mr. Ellis, and Mitch Needelman. Each Clerk had a totally different managerial style. While each of them brought something different to the table, Mitch Needelman is the first person I have ever offered to publicly support. All my co-workers have told me over the years that it is not wise to support a candidate when you work for an elected official. The reason for this is that if the person you are supporting does not win, then you will probably be out of a job after the election. 

I was the assistant Personnel Director before Mitch Needelman was elected. As much as I loved that job overall, the last four years in that position were difficult ones. Our office faced many budgetary strains. One of my tasks was to process personnel changes that were implemented to reduce the Clerk of Courts budget shortfall in our office. I helped process pay reductions, hour reductions, furloughs, and lay-offs. Almost every time I would deliver the bad news to an employee, they would tell me what impact that change was going to have on them and their families. That was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It was heartbreaking every time I met with an employee and explained to them what was happening. It got so bad that each time I would go into an office, employees would avoid making eye contact with me and walk in the opposite direction in case I was there to deliver them bad news. 

I was devastated when Mr. Ellis quit in the middle of his term. I could not believe that he was walking out on us (the employees) half way through his term. Many of the staff felt abandoned by him. I am not about to give him a second opportunity to abandon the employees or the citizens again. Mitch Needelman was elected by the citizens of Brevard County as the new Clerk of Courts for 2011-2012. I knew nothing about this man when he won that election. And he was going to be in charge of my future. I was shocked to say the least when the Personnel Director told me she had recommended me for the Executive Assistant position for Mitch Needelman. I was unsure about accepting a position of this nature and working for someone I did not even know. Mitch Needelman spent an entire afternoon with me telling me what his expectations would be and he listened as I told him what my concerns were. I literally tried to convince him not to hire me for the position. I told him I hated politics and did not really want to report directly to the Clerk. But the more time we spent together, a certain calm came over me and the job offer just “felt right”. I accepted the offer to work as his executive assistant and have not regretted it one moment. It only took me about three months before I told him that I have never supported any candidates in the past. There comes a time when a person must stand up for what is right. My family and I are honored to openly support Mitch Needelman for Clerk. 

Mitch Needelman is a long time proven champion of fiscal responsibility who believes in reducing the cost of government without compromising service to the people. Mitch is also a community minded individual and with his wife’s charity “4 the Kids of Brevard” works diligently to ensure that at risk youths are given an opportunity to be successful in life through music. Mitch and Joannie also assist indigent children and their families to receive presents at Christmas through the same 501C3. In addition to his experience as a public official and his charitable community service, Mitch holds a bachelors in Organizational Management and dual masters degrees: Public Administration and Human Resources.

While many other Clerks offices statewide did have to continue to process pay reductions, hour reductions, furloughs, and layoffs last year, our office did not. Mitch implemented innovative ideas that kept all of our employees secure in their jobs while returning money to the taxpayers. It is an honor to work for him.

It's no big deal to write and blow Mitch's horn with a walk on water letter.  If asked it would be hard to say no (the offer you cannot refuse) if you are an Administrative Assistant directly to the Clerk.  I do know I never asked anyone in the office to prepare anything for me in the race with Mitch Needleman in 2008, and it’s a good thing none did else they’d have been terminated with the other alleged politicals in the first wave in January.

Personnel went out to meet the employees when we had layoffs.   For pay reductions and reduced hours I did the mass e-mails.  But I must say we never had layoffs, furloughs, reduced hours, or pay cuts without everyone being told well ahead of time trouble was coming, finally giving everyone the dates of what actions would be taken, and everyone knew after those dates it was over. The employees knew when layoffs were coming, when they would be, when they would pass.  When we had furloughs, the same.  When we had pay and hour reductions I was the one who told the employees in the office.  I also freely allowed people to transfer within  the office and anyone was free to relinquish a position if they simply asked. Mitch in his first month canned about 20 people.

Those layoffs have gone down the memory hole as he and his people continue to tout their alleged savings on the outsourcing kept them from laying people off. NOBODY was told in January the layoffs were coming.  During a 2010 forum for Clerk’s candidates before the employees Needelman specifically said nobody was being canned and nobody was being brought aboard with him (both proven false the first 30 days). The layoffs (termed reorganization) was then overshadowed by the 140 people being outsourced.  The cowardly way 140 people were herded unknowingly into a pen to be outsourced and given 15 minutes to sign up or be unemployed is completely shameful.  Employees were not allowed to go home to discuss the issue with their family. Those who refused to sign up for SourceToo were pressured to turn in resignations.  They of course did not resign, they were terminated.  140 employees were Pearl Harbored on the Outsourcing without the decency to let people know what was going to happen nor given time to even think about it.

The Outsourcing meeting was scripted and had been rehearsed for a week in Titusville in the Brevard Room.  Personnel and Admin knew weeks ahead of time 140 people were being outsourced.  I’m not sure how saddened Personnel was dealing with people with a great deal of warning when there was and has been no remorse over terminating 20 with no hint of warning and then a month later herding 140 people into a mandatory Outsourcing meeting where’d they’d deliberately been given no clue what the meeting was about.

It is unusual when one has intricate knowledge of a shock and awe campaign against your own employees and you’re quite proud of the actions taken with no remorse.  Evidently this was not one of the hardest things anyone ever had to do. I’m actually (after getting past the initial surprise) happy with the letter because it makes me even more determined in this election. Read the letter again, listen to the Outsourcing Meeting, and for good  measure I threw in the graph of the ‘deficit’ for, as Mitch called it, “"worst financial crisis ever faced by any Clerk's Office in the State of Florida".