Mark C. Poloncarz is Erie County’s eighth County Executive. Now in his third term as County Executive, Mark works every day to ensure Erie County government is focused on its core mission: providing the programs and services that residents demand in an efficient and effective way.
Since taking office, Erie County has enjoyed balanced budgets each year along with lower tax rates and increased investments in county roads, parks, libraries, and cultural organizations. Under his leadership, and prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Erie County’s unemployment rate went from 9% to 3.4% and 47,000 news jobs have been added to the Buffalo-Niagara economy.
County Executive Poloncarz remains focused on the protection and promotion of the health and well-being of county residents. He worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic to protect the people of Erie County. He was a familiar face in homes across WNY with his daily press conferences and actions taken to protect the public and ensure healthcare equity to all. Many of the actions taken by Poloncarz during the Pandemic were replicated elsewhere, and due to his work he was named WNY’s most powerful and influential political leader by Buffalo Business First for 2021.
Mark Poloncarz’s protection of the public’s health did not start with the Pandemic. He created the Erie County Opioid Epidemic Task Force in 2016 to combat the opioid crisis sweeping the county, and later that year he was appointed to serve on the National Opioid Crisis Task Force alongside national peers developing community responses to the opioid epidemic. Since creating the Erie County Task Force overdose deaths have dramatically and programs developed in Erie County are being copied across the nation.
The County Executive has also made economic development a major priority during his time in office through the development and implementation of his economic roadmaps, Initiatives for a Smart Economy. Initiatives for a Smart Economy, released in June 2013, and his Initiatives 2.0 version released in June 2017 provide evolving blueprints for comprehensive, innovative economic development across Erie County. Together the two plans encompass over 130 target areas for economic development, focusing on land development and re-development, international business attraction and trade, energy, tourism, agriculture, workforce development and more, the Initiatives bring partners together to leverage strengths and improve Erie County.
Mark’s leadership at the ECIDA has resulted in numerous new policies protecting taxpayer dollars while still supporting projects that deliver strong public benefits to the community in exchange for incentives. The ECIDA has instituted a robust clawback policy to reclaim tax-incentives from businesses that do not meet the terms of their agreement, including job commitments, while continuing to facilitate over $2 billion in private sector investment and over 3,000 new jobs created through approved projects since 2012.
In 2018, Mark’s leadership was critical to in passing new local laws covering public health, governmental ethics, and fair housing. In 2019, under Mark’s leadership a new consumer protection division was established in Erie County, and he was invited to participate in a small group discussion with other local leaders with high ranking White House officials. In addition, in 2018 Mr. Poloncarz re-affirmed Erie County’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, with Erie County government already reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 28%, and in 2019 he established the Community Climate Change Task Force to promote sustainability in our region. He continues to be a staunch advocate for women, seniors, veterans, and the disabled.
Based on his Climate Action work, Mark was named the First Chairman of the NYS Association of Counties Climate Resiliency Committee, joining with elected officials statewide in addressing climate change and working collaboratively to create more resilient communities. He also serves as the Northeast Representative for the National Association of Counties (NACo), collaborating with peers from across the nation to advocate for the needs of counties. In this role he represents all counties in the Northeast (from Maine to Maryland) on NACo’s 8 person Executive Board that sets policy and the agenda for the organization and its 3,000+ member counties.
Mark is a graduate of Lackawanna Senior High School, received a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1989) and a Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo’s College of Law (1997). Before being elected as County Executive, Mark served as Erie County Comptroller for six years following a career in the private sector as an attorney. When time allows, Mark’s recreational pursuits include golf, hockey, cross-country skiing, astronomy, and reading. He is an avid history buff and student of politics as well.