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3/10/14: Poloncarz Announces Completion of County Social Services' Reorganization


Hiring of Deputy Commissioner Cannon Completes Overhaul of Department into Three Divisions

Budget-Neutral Plan creates more Flexible, Proactive Organization

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz announced the completion of his reorganization plan for the Erie County Department of Social Services (“DSS”) with the hiring of Marie Cannon as First Deputy Commissioner for the Department.  An experienced administrator with extensive qualifications in human resources, Cannon joins Second Deputy Commissioner Sharon Rochelle and Deputy Commissioner of Youth Services Gary Damon Jr. as recent executive management hires. The reorganization also created a new seven-member Child Protective Service team.

As I said in my recent State of the County address, Erie County remains challenged by a high level of poverty and the attendant strains that poverty places on families and children. The reorganization of the Department of Social Services will better position it to address these issues and deal with them more proactively,” said Poloncarz. “This budget-neutral reengineering of DSS will greatly help our staff to better engage with residents, identify what their needs are along with the resources available to address them, and work with them to achieve independence.”

The Department of Social Services is the largest in Erie County, with an annual budget of $578 million. DSS includes units such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”), the Home Energy Assistance Program (“HEAP”), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), Child and Adult Protective Services, and Juvenile Justice Services. The reorganization plan realigns DSS into three broad divisions: Public Assistance, Individual Protection, and Administrative Support.

Commissioner of Social Services Carol Dankert-Maurer added, “Erie County has experienced a dramatic increase in its caseloads over the past several years, and this plan gives the Department of Social Services the needed capacity to address the sources of these increases. In addition, the reorganization builds a more flexible and resilient Department that can act more quickly to address residents’ needs in a timely manner.”

Poloncarz initially proposed the reorganization plan, which was approved by the Erie County Legislature, in September 2013.