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Patronage is abused at Water Authority

I am relieved to hear that Robb Poloncarz landed on his feet at the Erie County Board of Elections after being dismissed from his position at the Erie County Water Authority for failing to score in the top three on the civil service exam, although I was confident that the county executive’s younger brother wouldn’t have trouble finding another job in the sea of patronage positions that is local government.

What The News article failed to mention is that his previous post at the Water Authority is being left vacant in the wake of his failure to qualify for permanent employment. I was among the candidates who scored in the top three on the civil service test for the contract monitor position. After a short canvassing process, I received a letter from the county stating that it would not be funding the position for 2014.

The need for a contract monitor was so critical in August 2012 that the Water Authority chose to appoint Poloncarz to the position prior to offering a civil service exam and without advertising the vacancy. It would appear that that need became non-existent just 16 months later when he failed to score in the top three on the exam. I know that there may be factors impacting this decision that I am not aware of, but considering his “qualifications” for his previous position and the Water Authority’s reputation for patronage, it appears that this was a fabricated position that was never intended to be filled via a competitive exam.

Samantha Long


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