For the first time in a dozen years, longtime Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner will have an opponent this November.
Candidate Lucas Cioffi will be on the ballot this fall appearing only on the Greenburgh Party line.
Feiner, a Democrat who has served the town as supervisor for the last 28 years, is facing his first competitive race since 2007.
Cioffi, 39, making his first run for public office, said he was intrigued to run because the supervisor’s post is local and its occupant has the opportunity to address local issues. He also mentioned that it’s important for Feiner to have an opponent.
“Without competition, our local leaders can get lazy,” said Cioffi, adding that he does not plan to make a career out of local politics. “I worked in open government with federal agencies from 2009 to 2011, and I’ve seen that when we empower people with information, they can provide valuable insights to help government work more efficiently. Everyone in Greenburgh knows they pay a lot in taxes, but they don’t have confidence that the money is being spent well. Working in the open will help us earn their trust.”
If elected, Cioffi said he would seek to reduce spending without cutting services, including making sure the town receives competitive bids for any major contracts. For example, the town signed a $5 million contract to clean its water towers after receiving just one bid while Yonkers received five bids for similar work.
He plans to review every department and reward town employees who identify cost-saving measures. He also plans to increase outreach and programming for at-risk youth.
Cioffi criticized Feiner for the favors he has provided certain residents.
“I believe a town government should run on fairness, not favors,” Cioffi said. “The supervisor should not be in the middle of every request you make to our local government in order to curry favor with voters. A town of our size should have a professional system for connecting residents and the departments; we should definitely not have one man in the middle.”
He said Feiner and the Town Board handled an application poorly from a church that was seeking to build on land it owned on Dobbs Ferry Road. The U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, concluded in a 2012 decision that the town’s actions were arbitrary, capricious and discriminatory when it “attempted to extort from the church a payment in lieu of taxes.”
“By working in the open, in partnership with Greenburgh residents, our town government will make better decisions, avoid costly mistakes and earn the public’s trust,” Cioffi said. “The dispute was settled for $6.5 million – the largest amount ever paid by a municipality in the United States to settle claims of religious discrimination – and is still being paid off today.”
Under his administration, there would be no backroom deals with developers even though the town needs commercial development, Cioffi said.
Feiner said he welcomes the competition and a chance to talk about the issues facing the town.
“I feel it’s important in a democracy for voters to have a choice,” Feiner said.
He defended his record as supervisor, saying Greenburgh is well run and that the town maintains a AAA bond rating, the highest rating possible, from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.
“We have kept taxes below the tax cap, another success story,” Feiner said. “Constituent complaints are responded to almost immediately, day, night, weekends, late evenings – even after midnight – something probably no other government does. I’m not the only town official who responds; department heads frequently do the same.”
Feiner, 63, also said the town is constantly moving forward. Recently, new sidewalks were installed on Columbia Avenue and on Fair Street. The town also received a grant of more than $1 million to build a new sidewalk on Hillside from Tarrytown Road to Granada Crescent and on Old Tarrytown Road, he said.
Feiner mentioned that Greenburgh is the first community in Westchester to have retrofitted a field for cricket and he successfully organized a lobbying effort to get Metro-North to install elevators at the Hartsdale train station. Work will commence next year.
In January, the town increased the frequency of the pickup of its paper and commingled recycling from once every other week to once a week and started food composting, Feiner said. An agreement to transform the abandoned WESTHELP homeless shelter into affordable housing was reached and an upgrade of the water supply management system that will connect the Rumbrook and Knollwood pumping stations will provide a continuous water supply even if maintenance is required.
Feiner said he posts daily e-mail alerts on the town’s website encourages residents to call his cell phone.
“We have the strongest ethics law in the nation – incumbents cannot accept campaign contributions from developers, contractors and those representing applicants,” Feiner said. “And we have created land use committees made up of citizens who live near proposed developments. We invite their participation in the review process, in selecting consultants and keep them informed.”