Erie County Legislature votes unanimously to strip Poloncarz of pandemic powers

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Erie County Legislature voted unanimously today to strip County Executive Mark Poloncarz of his special pandemic powers.

It’s another sign that life is trending back toward normal.

The move today means means the legislature will go back to approving all major budget decisions. There was no party split on the issue, it passed unanimously 11-0, suggesting the legislature is ready to take control again.

During the past year and a half, Poloncarz has been able to waive typical request-for-proposal processes and formal purchase policies.

These powers, of course, were approved by the legislature at the onset of the pandemic and now they feel it’s gone on long enough.

All of the legislators who chose to speak on the issue agreed the emergency powers were necessary at the time, and also agree that now is the time to take back control.

So this ends the budgetary and fiscal authority that Mark Poloncarz had and restores the required legislature approval for anything that costs more than $10,000.

We reached out to the county executive’s office for comment.

His spokesperson says this doesn’t change very much from their perspective, simply going back to pre-pandemic ways, where contracts over $10,000 and up to $250,000 must be approved.

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