Mark Poloncarz Announces Run For Erie County Executive

May 7, 2011 Updated Nov 13, 2013 at 1:24 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Mark Poloncarz Announces Run For Erie County Executive

May 7, 2011 Updated Nov 13, 2013 at 1:24 PM EDT

POLONCARZ ANNOUNCES RUN FOR ERIE COUNTY EXECUTIVE

LACKAWANNA, NY—( release / wkbw ) In front of friends, family and supporters in his hometown of Lackawanna, Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz announced his candidacy for Erie County Executive Saturday, pledging to return County government back its residents and serve as an inclusive leader for everyone.

In the release about his candidacy, Poloncarz said, “I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. As the son of a steelworker and a nurse here in Lackawanna, it’s more like a steel spoon. And as your next County Executive, I will never forget where I came from and that I am elected to serve you.”

“Six years ago, at the height of the worst fiscal crisis this community had ever seen, you gave me the privilege to serve as your independent taxpayer watchdog. Although those were dark days, with a lot of hard work, we were able to bring Erie County back from the brink. However, the mistakes that created the ‘Red-Green’ budget crisis are being made once again by a county executive who cares more about getting himself re-elected than serving the people of Erie County.

“Collins says he’s running Erie County like a business. The truth is, he’s raised your taxes and decimated necessary services you rely on, while at the same time giving significant raises to his patronage appointees. Instead of spending tens of millions of federal Stimulus dollars to create jobs, he’s hoarded it for more than two years in order to give himself an election year boost. That’s a raw deal and Erie County residents deserve better.”

After the announcement, Poloncarz took to the road for a day-long tour of Erie County that took him from Lackawanna to Orchard Park, Cheektowaga, Buffalo, Amherst and Tonawanda. At each stop along the way, Poloncarz spoke with residents about the issues unique to their individual communities and further pledged that as County Executive he will represent all of Erie County, not just a select few.

Poloncarz continued, “A county executive should be an inclusive leader for the entire county: urban, suburban and rural. Chris Collins has instead been a divisive figure, pitting urban versus suburban while neglecting the needs of our rural constituents.”

“And, while I am willing to work with all our partners in government and the private sector to find real solutions for the betterment of Erie County, Collins refuses to work with anyone, opting to waste your tax dollars on frivolous lawsuits when he doesn’t get his way.

“I believe Erie County’s best days are ahead of us, but only if we work together to guide our community forward. That is why I have entered this race, and with your support we will return responsible government back to its owners – the residents of Erie County,” Poloncarz states in his candidacy release.

After serving as a business and finance lawyer in the private sector for a number of years, Poloncarz was first elected as Erie County Comptroller during the height of the “Red-Green” fiscal crisis in 2005. His campaign release says that while In office, he has rooted out waste and fraud in government, created a more efficient Comptroller’s Office and restored fiscal stability to Erie County’s government.

As the taxpayers’ watchdog, one of Poloncarz’s says one of his first actions was to strengthen the office’s Audit Division and shape it into an Inspector General-style organization that stops and prevents waste, fraud and abuse of county tax dollars. Since taking office, Mark has conducted more than 50 major audits and reviews of Erie County’s departments, which have identified more than $27 million in cost savings.

Additionally, Poloncarz says he will lead the charge to make a more efficient county government by pushing for the creation of Erie County’s prescription drug discount program and the adoption of electronic payments for vendors saving the County and those that do business with the County time and money.

As County Executive, Poloncarz says he will clean up all of county government in the same manner he restored the reputation and trust in the comptroller’s office.

While Eyewitness News cameras captured Poloncarz announcement for the run for the County Executive seat, the spokesman for the current Erie County Executive Chris Collins released a statement in reaction to the announcement.

Here is the text from Grant Loomis, spokesman Collins For Our Future

“Mark Poloncarz has built a record of being on the wrong side of taxpayers time after time. Poloncarz has politicized the Comptroller’s office with audits that provide no value to taxpayers and has proven incompetent at the basic functions of his job. That’s what happens when every decision you make is pre-approved by your party boss to better position your own political career. The hardworking taxpayers of Erie County deserve better and that’s why they know they can always count on Chris Collins to stand up for them.”

Chris Collins will be running on the Republican ticket to look to continue in his position.

Eyewitness News will follow the race for Erie County Executive in our Vote 2011 coverage.