Tonawanda News — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Monday the reorganization plan of the Department of Social Services with the hiring of Marie Cannon as the first Deputy Commissioner.
The county has also recently hired Second Deputy Commissioner Sharon Rochelle and Deputy Commissioner of Youth Services Gary Damon Jr. as part of the reorganization effort.
Officials have also created a seven-member Child Protective Services Plan.
“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,” Poloncarz said.
The reorganization of the department, which has an annual budget $578 million budget, did not cost any money. Poloncarz announced the plans in September 2013.
“This budget-neutral re-engineering 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," Poloncarz said.
The department includes units such as Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Home Energy Assistance Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Child and Adult Protective Services.
“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," Commissioner of Social Services Carol Dankert-Maurer said. "In addition, the reorganization builds a more flexible and resilient Department that can act more quickly to address residents’ needs in a timely manner.”