Poloncarz appoints new Erie County Commissioner of Social Services

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has appointed a new Erie County Commissioner of Social Services.

Poloncarz announced his selection of Marie Canon for the position Tuesday.

Canon replaces Al Dirschberger who resigned in December over an "alleged serious incident" involving the former commissioner and a subordinate employee during a business trip in Albany in earlier in the month. Dirschberger has since been charged with Rape in the Third Degree in connection to the incident. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in Albany in January.

Canon served as the First Deputy of the Social Services Department under Dirshberger and was serving as the Acting Commissioner while the county conducted a search for Dirshberger's replacement.

In that role Cannon oversaw more than 700 employees across several programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ("TANF"), Medicaid, Day Care, HEAP, Homeless Services, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ("SNAP"), and several others. 

She also spearheaded the department's Summer Youth Employment Program which enrolled more than 700 young people.

"Mrs. Cannon has provided continuous leadership, guidance, and creativity to the department of Social Services since she joined us in 2014, impacting thousands of lives and making a positive difference in our community. She is an unflappable and conscientious worker who takes care of her employees as well as the people they serve, leading with integrity and compassion," said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

"Marie's experience and knowledge of the department and the community will be invaluable in creating a Social Services department that is more responsive, responsible, and ready to serve our community. I look forward to working with her as Commissioner."

Cannon's appointment to Commissioner now heads to the Erie County Legislature for approval. 

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