Outsourcing to end for Brevard County Clerk of Courts employees

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. —

Dozens of Brevard County court employees whose jobs were suddenly outsourced will soon be back on the Clerk of Courts' payroll.

The new clerk, elected in November, is ending a private contract put in place by his predecessor as a cost-cutting measure, a move that slashed benefits and sparked a lawsuit.

The attorney for the employees who filed suit told Channel 9 he hopes to have the case settled about the same time the Clerk of Courts brings an end to the outsourcing next month.

After 28 years on the job, the last thing Corky Ferrante expected was to be outsourced, but that's exactly what happened to the deputy clerk.

"Last October, I would have been retired," said Ferrante.

Instead, she was on the job, working for a private contractor, where she received no credit toward her state retirement benefits.

"To work your whole life and just have it taken from you, it was really detrimental, really," she said.

But for Ferrante and others, the clock is ticking toward retirement again. Newly elected Brevard Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis is ending the private contract with Source 2 in March.

"By the time I got back, there were still 60 people that were former employees working under the contract," Ellis said. "Other people quit or had been brought on board."

About 40 were hired by Source 2.

Ellis still isn't convinced the cost-cutting measure worked.

"The situation became so dynamic you couldn't even measure that, because you had so many people quit. A fourth of the workforce left in the last two years," said Ellis.

A group of employees also filed a lawsuit, which the Clerk of Courts Office has already spent more than $100,000 defending. Now, the clerks will be public employees again, but Ellis said some of them won't get back everything they've lost.

"You can't buy back time under the Florida retirement system," said Ellis

Ellis said public benefits will cost his office money, but he believes that will be offset by some of the administrators who left when he took office. That savings is estimated at more than $500,000.