BUFFALO, NY - Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw called out County Executive Mark Poloncarz on Wednesday, accusing him of violating the county charter.
Poloncarz, who was not available to answer our questions regarding the allegations on Wednesday, spoke about them with Two On Your Side Thursday.
On October 1st the Poloncarz administration, as required by the county charter, submitted to the County Comptroller a fiscal report in advance of the 2014 budget proposal, which is due for release on October 15th.
However, it was incomplete because it lacked any estimate of property tax revenues, according to Mychajliw, who then charged the County Executive with "being in violation of the county charter".
Poloncarz explained that the property tax levy is the final figure plugged into the budget proposal, and that, because the spending plan is still being formulated, it's almost impossible to arrive at a meaningful estimate at this point.
"If we can actually determine what the property tax levy is beforehand, I'll give that to the comptroller's office. I have no problem with that," Poloncarz told WGRZ-TV."But I don't think anybody assumed it would be a charter violation if you couldn't figure out the levy number, because you know you can't figure out the levy number until the budget's done."
To hear Poloncarz say that, however, could be surprising to some, if they recall not long ago when Poloncarz was the comptroller, and Chris Collins was the County Executive.
At that time, Poloncarz was critical of Collins for committing the same alleged fiscal sins that Mychajliw now accuses Poloncarz of.
Poloncarz acknowledges as much, admitting he was critical of Collins fiscal practices, and accused him of withholding information.
"However, I never stated he violated the charter," he said.
In a candid interview, Poloncarz conceded that he may not have been have been as critical of Collins as he was five years ago, now that he has been in the County Executive's chair for over two years.
"Probably not," he said. "It's not easy doing this job....you don't understand what you sometimes have to do in this job until you are actually in the seat of the County Executive...but I never accused him of violating the charter like the current comptroller has."
Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalists Bob Mancuso and Scott may. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2