Procurement

The Procurement office makes sure that the county purchases quality goods and services in a timely and economical manner.

The office, which operates as part of the county executive’s team under the oversight of the director of administration, assists all county departments, reviews requisitions, obtains quotes or bids as needed, and issues purchase orders.

Under the leadership of Director Chuck Crane, the office has worked to ensure a smart and transparent use of taxpayer dollars by working to close some of the county’s open, or blanket, purchase orders, closing 35 percent so far.

The office cuts about 1,750 purchase orders per year, and reviews about 50 bids and RFPs (requests for proposal) per year.

Did you know? The Procurement office saved about $115,000 in 2016 by negotiating better prices with vendors.

Facilities and Operations

The Facilities and Operations staff ensures that the courthouse and other county facilities run efficiently and professionally.

The Facilities and Operations team is part of the county executive’s administration and is overseen by the director of administration.

Manager Luigi Pasquale and his team maintain county buildings, make necessary repairs and respond to emergencies as needed.

The staff also coordinates identification badges for county employees, oversees telecommunications and maintains signage at county facilities.

The staff also provides internal and external mail service to county departments.

Did you know? The staff oversees 30 county facilities.

Department of Human Services – Drug & Alcohol Abuse

The Office of Drug & Alcohol Abuse is one of three divisions of the Department of Human Resources.

The office, which is led by Director Dave Sanner under the oversight of Human Services Director John DiMattio, works to make prevention, intervention and treatment services available to the public. The office assures that prevention programs are in place and advocates for client services by coordinating with other service agencies and systems.

The office, working in collaboration with other county departments, has taken a leadership role in fighting the opioid epidemic, including efforts to educate the public, prevent opioid abuse and overdoses, and help addicts receive treatment.

In 2016, the office performed more than 3,000 substance abuse assessments.

Did you know? The most common drugs of choice among the office’s clients in 2016 were alcohol (29 percent), marijuana (26 percent) and heroin (17.5 percent).

Department of Human Services – Office of Children and Youth

The Erie County Office of Children and Youth (OCY) is one of three divisions of the Department of Human Resources.

The office, which is led by OCY Director Lana Rees under the oversight of Human Services Director John DiMattio, aims to protect children and strengthen families. OCY works on assessing and assuring the safety, permanency and well-being of all young people in Erie County.

OCY also oversees the Edmund L. Thomas Adolescent Center and Shelter, which provides a safe environment for children; as well as Child Care Information Services, which provides child-care referrals and, in some cases, child-care subsidies.

Did you know? Last year, OCY investigated more than 5,000 reports of suspected child abuse or neglect and provided case management services to more than 2,000 children.

Human Services – Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities

The Erie County Department of Human Services consists of three offices: Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities; Children and Youth; and Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

The department operates as part of the county executive’s administration and is overseen by the director of administration.

John DiMattio, the director of Human Services, also oversees the Office of Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities (known as MH/ID).

The MH/ID office acts as the administrator of programs, working to assure that all residents of Erie County receive the mental health and intellectual disabilities services they need. The office also administers programs to offer assistance to the homeless.

As part of the role of administrator, the MH/ID office ensures that programs exist to provide support, treatment, housing, and more for those with mental illness or intellectual disabilities.

Did you know? Last year in Erie County, 21,282 clients received a mental health service, and more than 1,900 individuals with an intellectual disability received services.

Department of Corrections

The Erie County Department of Corrections houses criminal offenders at the Erie County Prison.

The department, led by Warden Kevin Sutter, aims to protect society by securely housing criminals while also providing a safe environment for prison staff and inmates. The department operates as part of the county executive’s administration and is overseen by the department of administration.

The department also provides a variety of programming opportunities at the prison in an effort to help inmates prepare to re-enter society. This includes work release, G.E.D. and alternative educational programs, anger management groups, drug/alcohol treatment, life skills and religious education.

The department also helps to clean up neighborhoods and public parks through the Community Works Program.

Did you know? The Erie County Prison achieved full compliance, a notable achievement, from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections last year.

Public Defender

The Erie County Public Defender’s Office provides legal advice and representation for residents who are financially unable to retain legal counsel and who are in jeopardy of losing their freedom.

Chief Public Defender Patricia Kennedy and her staff, which operate under the county executive and are overseen by the director of administration, aim to ensure equality in the criminal justice system by enforcing the rights of those accused of crimes to receive legal representation. They also provide legal representation to those facing involuntary commitment under the Mental Health Act.

In addition, the Public Defender’s Office collaborates with other county departments and community providers to support Treatment Courts, including Veterans Court, which helps people charged with crimes to be diverted from incarceration.

Did you know? The Public Defender’s Office helps about 5,000 people each year.

Department of Veterans Affairs

The Erie County Department of Veterans Affairs aims to assist military veterans and their families in securing the rights entitled to them by virtue of their service.

The department, which operates as part of the county executive’s team under the director of administration, helps veterans and their spouses file paperwork, including for burial and headstone allowances, property tax exemptions, pensions, and other claims.

Director Thad Plasczynski and his staff collaborate with other organizations to help veterans secure housing, find jobs, and navigate higher education. They also work with other county departments on the Veterans Treatment Court, which works to address mental health or addiction problems that can be at the root of veterans’ legal troubles.

Did you know? The Department of Veterans Affairs is the newest county department. It was created in 2015 from an office that formerly operated under the Human Resources department.

Department of Planning

The Erie County Department of Planning serves as a resource for Erie County’s 38 municipalities.

The department, which operates as part of the county executive’s administration under the oversight of the director of administration, in 2016 conducted a Municipalities Matter study, which allowed the county’s cities, boroughs and townships the opportunity to identify their needs.

The Department of Planning used that survey to prioritize its collaborations with municipalities. Currently, the department is working with the City of Erie, Millcreek Township and Summit Township on their comprehensive plans, and has worked with Venango Township on developing a model zoning ordinance as well as LeBoeuf Township, Union Township and Union City Borough on updating their zoning codes.

Director Kathy Wyrosdick and her team also coordinate and administer the programs for agricultural preservation and coastal resources. They coordinate the Erie MPO Metropolitan Transportation Planning process and are working to create Erie County’s Cultural Heritage Plan. The Erie County Recycling Program also operates out of the Department of Planning.

Did you know? The Department of Planning oversees the Erie County Greenways program, which has awarded more than $844,828 and leveraged an additional investment of more than $1.8 million for public resources throughout the county.

Erie County Public Library

The Erie County Public Library aims to improve the quality of life of all Erie County citizens by offering resources and programs that promote education, cultural enrichment and recreation.

The Public Library, which operates as part of the county executive’s administration under the oversight of the director of administration, has five facilities as well as the Bookmobile. About 1.3 million items were borrowed from the library in 2016.

The Public Library also acts as the district center for 15 independent libraries in Erie and Crawford counties.

As Library Director Mary Rennie says, the Erie County Public Library is as much about connections as it is collections.

To that end, the library has expanded programing by 45 percent in 2016. Programming for children and teens is particularly popular, with attendance at teen programs up an astonishing 482 percent in 2016.

The library also provides computer and internet access for residents. In 2016, more than 80,000 public computer sessions were logged at Erie County Public Library locations, and hundreds more residents are able to use the internet at home by borrowing mobile Wi-Fi hot spots.

In addition, the Erie County Public Library’s Blasco Library is undergoing renovation work that will result in the creation of the IdeaLab, a makerspace dedicated to boosting entrepreneurs in the region.

Did you know? Today, April 11, is International Library Workers Day.

Department of Public Safety – Emergency Management

The Department of Public Safety also operates an Emergency Management division, which oversees preparedness, response, and recovery operations in Erie County.

The Emergency Management division prepares for all manner of emergencies, including weather-related incidents; hazardous materials spills; or terrorism or security situations.

Part of the Emergency Management operations includes educating the public about how they should prepare for emergencies in their own homes. For example, citizens should prepare disaster or emergency supply kits for their homes and vehicles, and they should make plans for family members with disabilities in the event of an emergency.

Public Safety’s Emergency Management division also oversees operations involving specialized Erie County volunteer groups, including the Hazardous Materials Response Team, the Community Emergency Response Team and the Animal Response Team.

Did you know? Hundreds of volunteers are part of the specialized volunteer groups that work with Public Safety’s Emergency Management division.

Department of Public Safety – 911 Center

The Erie County Department of Public Safety provides both 911 services and emergency management services for the county.

Director John Grappy and his team aim to keep all citizens and visitors to Erie County safe by planning for emergency situations, training staff and citizens to respond swiftly and effectively to incidents, and by providing comprehensive dispatch services.

The department, which operates as part of the county executive’s administration and is overseen by the director of administration, includes a division for the 911 Center and a division for Emergency Management.

The 911 Center, which operates 24/7 out of the Public Safety headquarters in Summit Township, employs 46 full-time telecommunicators and three full-time shift supervisors.

The telecommunicators are highly trained, having received 14 weeks of training – including national certifications – before working on their own.

The center provides dispatch services for eight law enforcement agencies and 32 fire and EMS agencies.

In 2016, the 911 Center provided answered 167,403 calls, or an average of 459 per day.

In addition to taking calls from citizens and dispatching first responders, the 911 Center aims to educate the public about when to call 911 and what to expect in the call.

Did you know? This week, April 9-15, is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

Department of Health – Environmental Health

As part of its mission to protect the health and well-being of all residents, the Erie County Department of Health sponsors an Environmental health division.

The Environmental health division is perhaps best known for inspecting and licensing eating establishments around the county – including restaurants, cafeterias, concession stands, and any place that sells unpackaged food. But the division also inspects public schools, manufactured home parks, campgrounds, and tattoo/piercing establishments, as well as sewage treatment plants and wastewater facilities.

In addition, the division monitors mosquitoes for the presence of West Nile Virus and works to educate the public about ticks that carry Lyme disease. The Environmental division also takes an active role in issues that affect our waterways, such as monitoring for harmful algal blooms and analyzing E. coli levels in beach water.

Did you know? The Erie County Department of Health teamed up with the Erie County Extension to sponsor a pollinator garden outside the ECDH building on West Second Street in Erie.

Department of Health

The Erie County Department of Health aims to preserve, promote and protect the health, safety and well-being of Erie County’s residents as well as their environment.

Director Melissa Lyon and her team embrace their role as leaders in public health, promoting not just whole-body health but whole-community health.

The Department of Health, which operates as part of the county executive’s team under the director of administration, has several divisions – including Community Health, Health Promotion and Public Health Preparedness – that work in concert to promote the overall health of Erie County.

The department works to prevent the spread of communicable disease in the community, which includes efforts to educate the public about STDs, to promote immunizations for diseases like influenza and shingles, and to work with Erie’s refugee population.

The department also works to improve health habits among Erie County residents. That includes administering grant-funded programs that help residents stop smoking, that work to promote safety, and that aim to ward off chronic diseases.

The Department of Health sponsors a dental clinic, arranges home visits for mothers-to-be, promotes healthy eating, and encourages Erie County residents to get outside.

Did you know? This week, April 3-9, is National Public Health Week.

Director of Administration

The director of administration, who serves immediately under the Erie County Executive, oversees 10 departments and offices in the executive branch.

The departments and offices under the oversight of the director of administration are the departments of Health, Public Safety, Planning, Veterans Affairs, Corrections and Human Services; the Erie County Library; the Public Defender’s Office; and the offices of Procurement and Operations.

The director of administration also promotes efficiency in operations, manages capital projects, acts as a liaison with other elected officials, and represents the county in the community.

Gary Lee has served as director of administration since he was appointed to the position by County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper in 2014.

Did you know? The director of administration oversees approximately 800 employees.