In Brightest Day
No doubt one of my favorite all time movies is the Wizard of Oz, a classic story of loyalty, courage, and honor overcoming the near omipotent powers of evil. I was a bit amazed to see myself referred as the wizard himself in a comment by Mr. Needelman in a Florida Today article this morning, so tit for tat, I later close with a few outtakes from the movie as well as the links to the WMMB Bill Mick forum on Friday, June 29th, between Mr. Needelman and myself. Fittingly enough, the very day the ‘official’ BlueWare BlueGem $8.5 million contract for document imaging was signed by the Brevard County Clerk’s Office.
The Clerk’s Office is about a $21 million annual operation. A near $2 million annual expense for five years is huge. If the Office had $1.7 million per year just floating around in excess monies (savings) we’d have seen those monies returned to the funding agencies, the State of Florida and the Brevard County Commission. Since only $100,000 was returned to the state, with the County simply repaid the $100,000 in penalties from breaking the insurance contract, clearly more money must come from somewhere to fund this effort. My belief is the current strategy of starving operations to award no bid and sham bid contracts to companies represented by Friends of Mitch (FoM) will be expanded.
The public records I have requested have been stonewalled for over a month and are quite simple : invoices for monies already paid Blueware, contracts with individuals (such as Tallahassee attorneys and Public Relations spokesmen), and the bids returned from companies on the imaging contract. With the award the contract itself now becomes public record. I believe the invoices will show well over $500,000 was paid the parent company while the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) was yet to determine the selectee. Needelman has refused for over a month to even IDENTIFY the name of the firm selected for the negotiations.
Even more bizarre, my belief is the ITN itself was prepared in part or whole by the awardee, BlueGem, and the real contract was signed in late May when the $500,000 was electronically transferred from the Brevard County Clerk to Roseware, AKA Blueware, AKA BlueGem. By using an electronic transfer the normal County/Clerk Financial system, SAP, is bypassed. This unusual method then requires a manual entry into SAP with vendor information and other data.
My further belief is the real contract was meant to be ‘officially’ signed and released AFTER the election, and the possibility exists the electronic transfer would then be post dated to match the date of the ‘official’ signing. The contract calls for $500,000 to be paid as a guaranty upon signing, and with said money long ago already moved, only dummying the payment date would cover up the post dated contract.
The reason for release after the election would be to shift further conflicts, such as extended outsourcing and the exposure of another sweetheart deal represented by a former lobbying business partner, to a date after the race had been decided. Cash flow needs being what they were by companies and campaigns alike, the early transfer would help both parties without the spotlight of scrutiny shining on either.
Heck, I don’t even think the BlueGem contract signed by the Clerk on June 29th is the same as the ‘real’ contract signed May 23rd. I have a copy of the April 6th Roseware contract on collecting the 35% of savings, and while I don’t necessarily agree with how it’s been implemented I do see it is a well written contract.
The June 29th contract, for $8.5 MILLION, is another train wreck. The Statement of Work (SOW) defines NO parameters of the job. There is no estimate of the number of files or papers and no per paper estimate of cost. Nothing. Not even the years to be scanned. No estimate of the number of people needed. Worst of all, a timeline showing a SIX MONTH start to finish of a project with a FIVE YEAR payment plan. My belief is an original detailed SOW and timeline was scrubbed for political reasons from the document and replaced by unmeasurable gibberish.
Here is an excerpt from another bidder, FNTI of Minnesota, for their pricing of the project:
The pricing scenario is based upon limited information provided in the RFP. Source documents were not available for review. A full discovery and due diligence process is warranted to create a comprehensive SOW, associated financial summary, and comprehensive timeline to completion. The Court will only be billed for items delivered or considered as work in progress. Tiered pricing is subject to contractual obligations to meet or exceed these volumes.
Yes, quite detailed and, after an initial run of a few hundred thousand images, fairly easy to estimate the total cost of the project. FNTI estimated a cost of about $3.0 million to scan, index, and destroy approximately 45 million pieces of paper (the number provided by Brevard Clerk’s Office). OK, $3.0 million for the given number of pages, $8.5 million for undetermined number of pages, now the Clerk selected who?
The files to be imaged are long dead court files. On the rare occasions they are activated they’re scanned and shipped as needed. My belief is even though FNTI represents a good pricing scenario the work itself should be shelved as the funds for the work and need for the product are just not there. It makes no sense to spend millions of dollars (nearly 10% of your annual budget) imaging information rarely if ever accessed.
It makes perfect sense if one desires to continue gutting operations and operational effectiveness to award contracts to firms (again) represented by your former lobbying partner. This $8.5 million contract was awarded after an obscure ITN posting of only SEVEN DAYS with nowhere near adequate time for bidder questions. Vendor questions relating to the project went without adequate answers as the rails were greased for this budget breaking award.
Editor's Note: Scott provided a FL Today article that I cannot print due to copyright considerations. Instead, I provide the link to the article: Ellis, Needelman at odds over contract.
The Executive Team perceived a Problem was on its way.
Unfortunately, by August 15th a major catastrophe had struck.
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