County Controller Mary Schaaf is seeking re-election in the Nov. 5 municipal election.
Prior to becoming controller, Schaaf worked for 33 years as a senior financial adviser and Portfolio Performance Specialist at Merrill Lynch. Since taking office, Schaaf claims to have been able to save Erie County taxpayers and citizens $6 million.
“I remain dedicated to doing my job protecting your hard-earned money from fraud, waste and misuse and demanding accountability and transparency for every county expenditure,” Schaaf said. “My investigations of expenditures by the county resulted in the $6 million savings of tax dollars and the adoption of numerous new county policies with controls ending past practices including pension spiking, missing laptop computers at the 911 building and missing inventory in almost every county department, theft of ammunition at the Prison, excessive management fees and third-party consulting fees in the pension, cash theft in county offices, purchasing and contract compliance, vendor payments without services performed, GECAC misuse of county gaming fund grant monies, excess storage costs and tax collector procedures and compliance.”
As controller, Schaaf established the anonymous Fraud, Waste & Abuse Online Hotline on the county website and has investigated over 120 fraud reports. She also initiated the County Whistleblower Protection Policy.
Schaaf’s report of fraud at OCY in 2016 to PA State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale resulted in his finding that $17 million was paid without verification that services were provided to any children.
Schaaf also found that Erie County could be reimbursed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for Albion Prison inmates trials in Erie County Court and has received $50,000 in 2019.
Her recent proposal to the administration is to save over $180,000 in storage leases annually by utilizing Pleasant Ridge Manor East resulted to consolidation and reduced storage costs.
Raised on her family’s Erie County dairy farm, Schaaf graduated from Wattsburg High School, earned her B.A. at Mercyhurst University, master’s degree from Edinboro University, and was certified at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Finance in Portfolio Performance Measurement. She is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and Pennsylvania Association of County Controllers.
Schaaf serves the community as a Mercyhurst University board trustee, member of the American Association of University Women and the Women’s Club. Past board memberships include SafeNet Domestic Violence Safety Network, Stairways Behavior Health, Visiting Nurses’ Association and the Edinboro University Foundation.
She is the mother of Lt. Cmdr. Joseph R. Schaaf, Jr. USN, JAG, Ret., his wife, Laurie and grandchildren, Katherine and Mitchell.