Mark Poloncarz Elected As New Erie County Executive

November 9, 2011 Updated Nov 9, 2011 at 3:09 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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Mark Poloncarz Elected As New Erie County Executive

November 9, 2011 Updated Nov 9, 2011 at 3:09 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Shortly after 11:40p.m. Tuesday night, the Democratic candidate for the job of Erie County Executive, Mark Poloncarz, took to the stage at the Adam's Mark Hotel to claim victory in one of the closest races in recent memory.

Poloncarz spoke of the "heart" of the campaign that he said many didn't think would end in a win when it first started. He also thanked his family, many supporters, and acknowledged his opponent by thanking Chris Collins for his service to the community while working as Erie County Executive.

Currently Poloncarz is the Comptroller for the county, working with Collins and his administration.

He won by just a few percentage points over Republican incumbent Chris Collins in a race that Eyewitness News Political Analyst Bob Davis said was too close to call.

Collins conceded in a speech just after 11:20p.m. from his headquarters at the Rich Renaissance Center in Buffalo. Collins talked about his accomplishments in office, thanked his staff that he called "the very best," and said he will be fine with his business endeavors.

Eyewitness News will have reaction to the win, and what it means.

For a complete list of election results, vote totals and statistics, click the "Election Results" banner here at wkbw.com.

Here is more on Poloncarz from his official website:

Mark Poloncarz is Erie County's Comptroller. Mark is Erie County’s eleventh (11th) comptroller and only the fifth (5th) elected comptroller since the office was made elective in 1961. In that capacity he acts as Erie County's Chief Fiscal Officer, Chief Accounting and Reporting Officer, and Chief Auditing Officer.

Mark was born on November 7, 1967 to Charles and Janice Poloncarz, each now retired as a steelworker and nurse from Bethlehem Steel Corp. and Mercy Hospital, respectively. The eldest of three sons, Mark grew up with his parents and younger brothers Robb and Kevin in the blue-collar steel town of Lackawanna, New York. Mark graduated as a National Honor Society Member and Regents scholar from Lackawanna Senior High School in 1985 and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1989.

After working in the private sector for five years Mark then attended from the University of Toledo College of Law, graduating in 1997. During his final year of law school Mark won the University of Toledo’s moot court competition and received the prestigious “Barrister” award honoring his accomplishment.

Passing the New York State Bar exam on his first attempt, Mark then practiced corporate and finance law in Buffalo, New York and was last associated with the firm of Kavinoky Cook LLP. His legal practice included representing businesses, both large and small, and local governmental authorities during complex public and private mixed finance transactions.

Active in his community, Mark served on numerous not-for-profit corporate boards as both a director and an officer and has a solid history of guiding financial distressed institutions to solvency.

Since taking office on January 1, 2006, Mark has dedicated his administration towards creating a more efficient comptroller's office and restoring fiscal stability to Erie County's government. He has released more financial statements and reports than any of his predecessors, including issuing for the first time comprehensive and detailed quarterly reports on Erie County's finances. These reports have helped the county executive, legislature, Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority and Wall Street better understand the issues facing Erie County. Quarterly reports on financial conditions are standard in the private sector, and have become the norm in Erie County during Mark's term in office.

He has also strengthened the office's Audit Division by conducting timely, proactive and thorough audits and reviews of Erie County's departments, related entities and issues facing Erie County's residents. He has shaped the Audit Division into an Inspector General-style organization that stops and prevents waste, fraud and abuse of county taxpayers' dollars, and was honored for his efforts when the Association of Local Government Auditors gave his office its prestigious 2007 Bronze Knighton Award for small audit departments. His office was the first municipal government auditor in New York State ever to receive any Knighton Award.

While he has acted as the taxpayers' watchdog and called out wasteful spending and irresponsible actions, he has worked collaboratively and cooperatively with the county executive, legislature, and the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority in order to restore fiscal discipline to county government.