About Mark Poloncarz
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 the lowest county tax rate in history, and increased investments in county roads, parks, libraries, and cultural organizations. Under his leadership, as of December 2022, Erie County’s unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level ever, at 3.2%. In 2021 the independent Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council gave Erie County its highest overall road score ever since the rating first began being issued in 1985.
County Executive Poloncarz remains focused on the protection and promotion of the health and well-being of county residents. In 2022, following the horrific racially motivated mass shooting at the Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, Mark and the Erie County team led the response to provide mental health counseling to any affected by the event, as well as to address the food insecurity needs of the community. Partnering with the Food Bank of WNY, more than 250 tons of free food was provided to those impacted by the closure of the Tops Markets in the aftermath of the shooting.
Mark also led the community’s response to the November 2022 Superstorm that dumped 7 feet of snow on major portions of the county and the subsequent terrible Christmas Blizzard of 2022. In each event, County Executive Poloncarz joined the county’s emergency response and public works teams at Erie County’s Emergency Operations Center, coordinating with state and local emergency responders and leaders to address the needs of the community.
In 2022, County Executive Poloncarz was invited by the White House to present before a national workforce development summit about the success of the Erie County Healthcare Careers Grant Program and how it could be successfully replicated elsewhere. In February 2023, Poloncarz met with President Joe Biden to discuss the need for the Federal Emergency Management Administration to declare the Christmas Blizzard of 2022 a major disaster.
He worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic to protect the people of Erie County. He was a familiar face in homes across WNY during the Pandemic, 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. As noted by The Buffalo News in March of 2022, “For the attention and professionalism he brought to an impossible task, Poloncarz has earned the thanks of his constituents.”
The County Executive has also made economic development a major priority during his time in office with his signature project being the redevelopment of the former Bethlehem Steel site which is now a 250 acre modern business park with access to rail, a lake port, and major highways: the Renaissance Commerce Park.
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 recapture policy to reclaim tax incentives from businesses that do not meet the terms of their agreement, including job commitments while continuing to facilitate over $2.5 billion in private sector investment and over 4,000 new jobs created through approved projects since 2012.
Since 2018, Mark’s leadership was critical in passing new local laws covering public health, including the creation of the Erie County Office of Health Equity, 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 2018 Mr. Poloncarz reaffirmed 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.
Mark has been a strong advocate for public safety, providing the Department of Central Police Services, the District Attorney, and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office with additional resources to perform critical missions to protect Erie County residents and prosecute criminals. He also supported new initiatives to train inmates for careers during their incarceration to reduce recidivism.
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). 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.