Commissioner Of Social Services

Exam type: 
Notice of Vacancy
95 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY
Posting Dates: 
January 9, 2018 - February 5, 2018


Erie County is searching for an individual to lead the Department of Social Services as Commissioner. The mission of the department is to provide temporary assistance to eligible individuals and families, to provide protective services to vulnerable adults and children, and provide related programs to assist residents of Erie County to lead safe, healthy and independent lives. In discharging this responsibility, the Commissioner must organize, direct and coordinate the work of all employees to achieve effective and efficient operation of the multiple programs undertaken by the department. The Erie County Department of Social Services has a $608 million annual budget, including $23 million in contracts with provider agencies and $22 million in inter-fund agreements with other county departments, and a staff of nearly 1,600 professional, technical, legal and support staff assigned to various locations throughout Erie County.

The Commissioner is the chief executive officer of the department and is charged with the responsibility of administering Erie County’s family independence programs, including Temporary Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, Medicaid, and Home Energy Assistance; and individual protection programs, including Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, Foster Care, and Children’s Services; Youth Services including a secure detention center for youth; and various other social services programs. The Commissioner additionally serves as guardian for a number of individuals who are not able to care for themselves.

The Commissioner is assisted with a management team that includes two First Deputy Commissioners and a Second Deputy Commissioner, a Senior Executive Assistant of Finance, and a Special Assistant. The Commissioner reports to the County Executive or his designee.

The Commissioner serves a five year term and is appointed by the Erie County Executive, subject to the confirmation of the Erie County Legislature.

Qualifications: Graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a bachelor’s degree AND:

A)           Six years of satisfactory full-time paid experience in health, education or social service agency; four years of which must have been in a satisfactory administrative or supervisory capacity; Or

B)           Six years of responsible full-time, paid experience in an administrative or management position where there is responsibility for planning, directing and coordinating the work of a substantial staff working in several units or preforming several separate functions; or

C)           A satisfactory combination of training and experience equivalent to (a) and (b).

A post graduate degree in a relevant field of study such as a Masters in Public administration, Masters in Social Work, Masters in Business Administration or similar or higher degree is preferred.

NOTE: All appointees to the position of Commissioner of Social Services must be approved by The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

The starting annual salary range is $98,827-$131,317 depending on experience. Competitive benefits package includes comprehensive health, dental and vision coverage and NYS retirement.


Please send Cover letter, Resume and Salary Requirements to:

Commissioner of Personnel, Mr. David Palmer

95 Franklin Street, 6th Floor, Buffalo, NY 14202

or by email to 

Resumes are due by February 5, 2018

Only those whose resumes are being considered will be contacted.

Erie County is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Frequently Requested Information


Phone: (716) 858-8484
Erie County Civil Service Exam Line: (716) 858-8729

Edward A. Rath County Office Building
95 Franklin Street, 6th Floor
Buffalo, New York 14202