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Feiner, Greenburgh Supervisor Since 1991, Marks Birthday, Lengthy Tenure

Supervisor Paul Feiner in his office at Greenburgh Town Hall. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner standing next to a banner from a fundraising bicycle ride he made with the late John Kennedy Jr. and Robert Kennedy Jr. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Paul Feiner turned 59 on Saturday, and even that makes headlines.

Why? Perhaps because Feiner is one of the longest serving elected officials in Westchester County. He's been supervisor  of the Town of Greenburgh since 1991, a job that pays $140,000 annually. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress, twice, but says he'll run again if one of the U.S. representatives in Greenburgh retires.

While he also would consider running for Westchester county executive or county clerk, Feiner said he enjoys his job as supervisor more than ever.

"I think that I'm a better supervisor now than five or 10 years ago," 'he said. "I am spending more time on the job now than any time in my career."

Critics say his mass communication efforts focus too much on him, a point he says too has heard. He thinks people may perceive that he's grown too comfortable, too complacent after 12 terms in office -- so he aims to ratchet back.

"I'm willing to modify my style," Feiner said. "I'm constantly learning."

"He does more campaigning than he does governing,'' said Bob Bernstein, an attorney who challenged Feiner in a Democratic primary election in 2013. "In Edgemont, he doesn't have much support.''

But Feiner was Greenburgh's biggest cheerleader when it sent a student to the national spelling bee.

He set up a command post when one of Edgemont's teenagers went missing -- and was at work on a Sunday night when she was found.

He's not afraid to speak out about development across the Hudson River damaging the Rivertowns' view of the Palisades.

He helped close a shooting range in Ardsley. And when the Fairview fire chief cussed him out with an anti-Semitic slur, Feiner sought a public apology, hastening the chief's early retirement.

If a reporter asks Feiner a question he can't answer, he immediately copies a town department head in an email, and it's typically answered within an hour, if not minutes.

The town supervisor's mass email goes to more than 1,500 residents. And that flow of thorough information seems to help make town board meetings operate more efficiently, with fewer surprises or dissent.

Bernstein said meeting attendance is low because people got tired of being ignored at excessively long meetings or given just three minutes to speak.

He is available 24-7, knows everything going on in town and rarely won't comment about it. He's a consummate researcher and many of his constituents believe he cares about them -- hence his easy reelections.

Feiner is married to Sherrie Brown, a lawyer who works for the state attorney general's office. They have an adopted 16-year-old daughter, Julia.

While he wanted to be a rabbi when he was about 12, Feiner said his mother encouraged him to volunteer for the congressional campaign of Ogden Reid.

At 16, he became chairman of the Teen Democrats of Westchester. He was elected to the Westchester County Legislature when he was 27.

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