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Poloncarz will take oath Jan. 1

Mark C. Poloncarz will take the oath of office as Erie County's eighth county executive at 11 a.m. on New Year's Day in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, followed by an unprecedented open house for the public in his 16th-floor office of the Rath County Office Building.

Mark Cornell, spokesman for the county executive-elect, said details are not fully developed. But he said so many citizens have told Poloncarz that they have never visited the county executive's office that he decided to invite the public on New Year's Day.

"We think it's a great opportunity for people to see the office," Cornell said.

The concept is not unprecedented, as Mayors Anthony M. Masiello and Byron W. Brown opened the City Hall mayoral suite to the public following their initial inaugurations. But the plan is believed to be a first for the county executive.

The Convention Center setting also marks a return to the City of Buffalo of the county executive's swearing-in ceremony. Outgoing County Executive Chris Collins staged his inauguration in 2008 at the University at Buffalo's North Campus -- the first time it was held outside Buffalo.

But Poloncarz rode to his Nov. 8 victory largely on the strength of the city vote, after critics often claimed during the campaign that Buffalo had been overlooked during the Collins administration.

Cornell said further announcements giving details of the inauguration are expected in days to come.