Poloncarz says Rath Building is safe, dismisses comptroller's claims as 'hypocritical'
A social media feud has been brewing between Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw over the health and safety of staff in the Rath Building.
County Comptroller Mychajliw took to Twitter all last week to say county leadership is rushing workers back into the county building without proper safety measures. Executive Poloncarz responded to those posts during his Wednesday COVID-19 briefing, saying the Rath Building is safe, and the county has been ensuring a socially distant and sanitized workplace since the pandemic started.
“I categorically reject what the comptroller is saying,” said Poloncarz. “It’s disappointing for what he’s saying, because we’ve took so many precautions and measures, to the point of buying special sprayers to spray every door knob in this building every night. To clean areas extra special, to require masks...”
The executive went as far as playing a surveillance video from the Rath’s lobby area which shows Mychajliw entering an elevator with Poloncarz, without a mask on.
“And then the comptroller walks in as I’m getting on the elevator, and he’s not wearing a mask, wearing sandals, shorts, golf shirt. And then we talk, and the first thing that comes out of my mouth is ‘Stefan you know there’s a rule? you have where a mask while in this building,’” Poloncarz said while commentating over the surveillance tape. “He’s like ‘eh, whatever,” and I go no, we are not allowing anybody, including elected officials, you have to wear a mask while in this building.”
Poloncarz says Mychajliw is trying to use this to his advantage.
“I get what’s going on. The comptroller didn’t say ‘boo’ about county government for literally five months in a row, and now all of a sudden he’s worried about things?” Poloncarz said. “It’s hypocritical, because he’s refusing to wear a mask. And I told him straight out, ‘Stefan, if you do not wear a mask, you will not be allowed in the building.’”
Poloncarz defended his decision to increase workers in the Rath Building by saying many departments of county government are just too essential to the community to have closed, and it's been done safely within guidelines set by both federal and state agencies.
I proudly fight for the health and safety of our union employees. They’re doing a phenomenal job working remotely under tough circumstances. Rushing them back to work without safety measures in place puts their health at risk, along with loved ones. https://t.co/IAndcoJsZn— Stefan Mychajliw (@StefanMychajliw) June 25, 2020
Golden rule in government: do as I say, not as I do. Govt forces businesses to jump through health hoops to reopen. Not Erie County. No temperature checks at the Rath Building. ECMC is hiring temperature takers. Erie County could, using $160 million in COVID-19 funds. pic.twitter.com/vdwkGa4WMs— Stefan Mychajliw (@StefanMychajliw) July 1, 2020
I fight for the health and safety of our hard working union employees. The Rath Building isn’t ready to safely bring workers back. No nurses checking temps. Can’t fit 4 in elevator to safely social distance. A remote workforce is right. Listen here: https://t.co/IBg5elp7h2— Stefan Mychajliw (@StefanMychajliw) June 29, 2020
This is pure malarkey. If he truly cared about out employees' health he would #WearAMask in the Rath Building and he hasn't repeatedly. Last week we rode up an elevator together and he was maskless. I told him if he didn't wear a mask he wouldn't be allowed in the building again. https://t.co/oikPvp4qYF— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) July 1, 2020