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Another Poloncarz jab at Brown; Casey downplays significance

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's pre-election rally at an Amherst union hall last month for county executive candidate Mark C. Poloncarz never really produced the kumbaya effect sought by statewide Democrats.

Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan, for example, was never even invited onto the podium after feuding with Cuomo's party people for months. And Mayor Byron W. Brown made it clear he attended only because Cuomo asked him.

Since then, it is clear there will be little thaw in the frosty relations between Poloncarz and Brown. The county executive-elect threw some obvious jabs at Brown by naming a potential mayoral rival in 2013 -- former FBI honcho Bernie Tolbert -- to his transition tean. In addition, he recruited former Corporation Counsel Alicia Lukasiewicz -- forced out of City Hall by Brown -- to the panel.

This week the rift became even more obvious when Poloncarz named Richard M. Tobe as his deputy county executive. Tobe was also forced out of his City Hall economic development post in 2008 -- a move of which the county executive-elect clearly disagrees.

"It had less to do with Rich Tobe and more to do with the mayor, including his executive assistant deputy mayor," Poloncarz said at this week's announcement, referring to Tobe's resignation and Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey.

The deputy mayor, considered Brown's political point man, this week dismissed any suggestion of a rift between City Hall and the Rath County Office Building.

"We look forward to sitting down and working with him," Casey said of Tobe. "If it has to do with jobs, we will work together with anybody.

"You don't see anybody on our side picking a fight," he added.

Casey said Brown on Dec. 9 sent a letter of congratulations to Poloncarz, suggesting the two men meet soon to discuss mutual goals.

--Robert J. McCarthy

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Byron Brown | City of Buffalo | Erie County | Erie County executive
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Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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