Poloncarz, Petitions, and Patronage No Free Pass for the Erie County Exec By Addison Gardiner

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz got his political hand caught in the Independence Party Primary cookie jar when it was discovered one of his workers carried petitions to get Anthony D’Orazio Jr. on the ballot against endorsed incumbent Stefan I. Mychajliw.

As PoliticsNY.net first reported on September 12th, D’Orazio has a documented history of violence against women when reports surfaced concerning his arrest for attacking an 18-year-old woman while on patrol as a police officer.  To have one of Poloncarz’s own employees working hard and pounding the pavement on behalf of a man arrested for attacking a teen doesn’t exactly look great for the County Executive.

What is worse is that it shows a direct link, direct evidence, that team Poloncarz, under the leadership of Erie County Democratic Committee chairman Jeremy Zellner, is involved in trying to eliminate checks and balances at the Rath Building by working to get rid of the independently elected Comptroller. Now, Poloncarz simply cannot deny his involvement in trying to steal the Independence ballot line from Mychajliw. 

His own worker’s name appears on the petitions to get D’Orazio on the Independence Party primary ballot.  How does Poloncarz respond when asked about one of his direct employees working on behalf of a man with an arrest record for assaulting a female teenager, all the while on duty as a police officer?

Poloncarz more than likely thought he would get a free pass on having one of his direct employees canvassing for a former cop arrested for attacking a young University at Buffalo student.  I’m sure they never thought PoliticsNY.net would scrutinize D’Orazaio’s petitions to find Democratic political hires trying to quietly work on D’Orazio’s behalf.

The Erie County Executive also thought he would get a free pass on expanding the infamous “Friends and Family Plan” once again, this time by trying to hide the addition of political patronage positions through so called “Social Services Reform.”

Poloncarz recently floated the idea of creating a new team of seven workers to make up a Child Protective Services team.  Who could argue with that?

The only problem is that the County Executive is once again adding three politically-appointed positions to oversee the new seven workers.

The County Executive got hammered for putting his chef brother on the political payroll of the Erie County Water Authority. Now he expects the Legislature and public to believe him when he says the three new patronage positions are necessary to reorganize Social Services? All at an additional cost to taxpayers of more than $800,000 for the total of ten new workers.

Let’s put things in perspective: The same Comptroller the County Executive is now working to replace passed a reorganization plan in his own department that saved taxpayers $476,000 in the 2013 budget.

Mychajliw cut lower level patronage positions, hired professional accountants, created cross-training for current workers, has employees doing more with less, and saved almost $500,000 in the process.

Compare that to Poloncarz’s reorganization that does less with more, increases political patronage and forces taxpayers to come up with $800,000 to pay for it all.

Observers could be excused for thinking the County Executive is tone deaf for continuing to make bad blunders, one after another, starting with putting his chef brother on the Erie County Water Authority payroll. 

His own staff member was caught carrying petitions for Mychajliw’s opponent who has a documented history of being arrested for attacking a young woman. Now Poloncarz’s political hubris has grown larger by trying to add three political patronage positions to the budget.

Then there are the Democrats buzzing about the County Executive's big loss with Lynn Dearmyer. Poloncarz taped and delivered robo calls to Democrat Primary voters, publicly endorsed her and sent direct mail on her behalf. She lost - and for sticking his neck out, so did he.

The more political hits Poloncarz takes in the coming weeks and months, the more talk there is of the County Executive drawing Democratic primary opponents in 2015. Mickey Kearns and Dennis Gabryszak are just two names being floated to challenge him in the Democratic Primary. 

Sure, the current County Executive will have ECDC Chair Jeremy Zellner in his Democratic corner in 2015 (if he's still around). But how well did that work out for Burt Dunn?



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