Some news, notes and observations from the Sunday inauguration of Mark C. Poloncarz as the eighth Erie County executive:
-- A thrilled cadre of Poloncarz campaign workers was exploring new digs on the 16th floor of the Rath County Office Building on Sunday, even though no official appointments have yet been announced.
Still, campaign manager Jennifer Hibit was showing family members her new office traditionally occupied by the chief of staff, while former comptroller spokesman Mark Cornell and former campaign spokesman Peter Anderson were on duty. Incoming Deputy County Executive Richard M. Tobe was also on hand.
Cornell said announcements of executive staff and commissioner level appointments can be expected soon.
-- The Junior ROTC of McKinley High School presented the colors at the inaugural ceremony in the Buffalo and Erie County Convention Center, while Brian and Zachary Poloncarz -- nephews of the new county executive -- led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
-- Rev. Joseph Bayne, a Franciscan friar and chaplain of the Buffalo Fire Department, invoked St. Francis of Assisi during his opening prayer, while Rev. Chris Brown, associate pastor of St. John Baptist Church and chaplain of the Buffalo Police Department, delivered the benediction.
Brown related that he was late for a Poloncarz fundraiser at his house last summer, and that his wife was unaware of the details when she called him to ask "why all these white boys were playing basketball in our back yard."
"That's just Mark," he said he told her, adding he knew then Poloncarz was a "man of the people."
-- Executives often leave a note in their top drawer for their successors, but the top drawer was
bare for incoming County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Longtime nemesis Chris Collins did not
leave a note in his desk drawer for his successor, Poloncarz aides say, underscoring the
longtime animosity between the two politicians.
Robert J. McCarthy