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Erie County Executive apologizes for comments on City of Buffalo's blizzard response

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Posted at 1:31 PM, Dec 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-29 13:31:17-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — On Wednesday Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz criticized the City of Buffalo's response to the blizzard, saying he had discussions with his staff and New York State on what it would take for the county to take over all snow-cleaning operations in the future.

"Because I think it's apparent that it's time for it to happen or at least a discussion on the future. The mayor is not going to be happy to hear about it, but storm after storm, after storm, after storm, the city unfortunately is the last one to be opened and that shouldn't be the case. It's embarrassing," Poloncarz said Wednesday.

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown responded to the county executive's comments, saying in part, "I did not hear the county executive's news briefing. I can say this, people have been working around the clock since the beginning of this storm, some people handle that pressure a lot differently. Some keep working, some keep trying to help the residents of our community, and some break down and lash out. So, don't really know what the county executive is talking about, I do know that the storm conditions in the City of Buffalo were the most adverse in all of Erie County, in all of Western New York."

On Thursday, the county executive started his winter storm update with an apology.

"I want to apologize to the members of our community, all of them, as well as of course the men and women of the City of Buffalo Department of Public Works for letting my emotions get the best of me. This is a very, very difficult situation we've been dealing with much, including the unfolding issues associated with the deaths, the identification of bodies, individuals who have not yet been identified, and new deaths that are coming in that are just absolutely heartbreaking that I basically lost my focus, I will say that. I do apologize to our community for doing it because the focus needs to be on the recovery efforts as well as unfortunately helping the community members who have lost a loved one grieve," said Poloncarz.

The county executive continued on to say he called and texted Mayor Brown Wednesday night to discuss the comments with him, but they have not spoken. "Though I look forward to his call so that we can discuss these issues further," said Poloncarz.