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1/31/14: Poloncarz Addresses NY Public Welfare Association Conference


County Executive’s Remarks Stress Challenges Facing Social Safety Net, Income Disparities as Hindrances to Delivery of Services

Introduces EC Social Services Commissioner Dankert-Maurer as NYPWA President

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz addressed the 145th annual winter conference of the New York Public Welfare Association (“NYPWA”) on Thursday, calling attention to the challenges facing Social Service programs in Erie County and across New York State. NYPWA independently represents New York State's 58 local social services districts by providing information, policy analysis and technical assistance to federal, state and local policymakers.

“As an information- and policy-based organization, NYPWA is ideally situated to communicate real-life social service situations to elected leaders across New York to help those leaders develop appropriate new policies to address today’s social service needs,” said Poloncarz. “Speaking before the conference gave me the opportunity to provide NYPWA with a clear perspective on how current policies are working, potential improvements to consider, and ways to create a system that is more modern, protective, and efficient.”

The mission of NYPWA is to improve the quality and effectiveness of social welfare policy so that it is accountable to taxpayers and protective of vulnerable people. Founded in 1869, the NYPWA is the oldest public welfare association in the United States and is an active partner with government agencies, associations and community organizations.

Erie County Social Services Commissioner Carol Dankert-Maurer was inducted NYPWA President at the winter conference as well. Introduced by County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, 300 of Dankert-Maurer’s peers and colleagues were in attendance as she took her oath of office.

“It is a tremendous honor to be able to serve in this role. As a Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner before that, I have looked to NYPWA for support and assistance,” said Commissioner Dankert-Maurer. “As President, I will work to make sure NYPWA continues its vital role of facilitating the exchange of ideas, developing new initiatives, and refining existing programs and services. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the state to improve the delivery of programs that are critical to millions of families statewide.”

As Erie County Social Services Commissioner, Dankert-Maurer is responsible for all aspects of organizational leadership and management for a department serving more than 100,000 children and families. The major programs include Temporary Assistance, Food Stamps, Medical Assistance, Home Energy Assistance, Child Support, Employment Services, Day Care, and a wide range of preventive and supportive services for children, youth, families and adults.

NYPWA Executive Director Sheila Harrigan said, “I am so excited to have Carol Dankert-Maurer as our new President. I grew up in Buffalo, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have Erie County’s Commissioner in a leadership role for the NYPWA. In keeping with our conference theme “The Art of Managing What Comes Next,” here is a President who is poised to address any challenge in the social services arena. Commissioner Dankert-Maurer’s entire career has been dedicated to achieving better outcomes for children and families.  As President of the NYPWA she will be working with other social services commissioners and state agencies on statewide initiatives that support this goal.”

Dankert-Maurer joined Erie County in 2008 as First Deputy Commissioner of Social Services after a lengthy and distinguished career with the Chautauqua County Department of Social Services. She was appointed acting Commissioner in 2009 and was unanimously confirmed Commissioner by the Erie County Legislature in January 2010.

Dankert-Maurer received a Bachelor degree from SUNY Fredonia and a Master of Social Services Administration degree from Case Western Reserve University.

For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Social Services, visit   http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/

On the NY Public Welfare Association, visit   http://www.nypwa.com/index.html