Paul Feiner began his career in public service at the age of l2, when he worked as a volunteer on the successful l968 Congressional campaign of Ogden Reid. At the age of 16 Paul Feiner was already fighting for quality of life improvements. As Chair of the Teen Democrats of Westchester, he persuaded the county of Westchester to open the Bronx River Parkway on Sunday for cyclists, a program that celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014.
Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude at Fordham University and a l98l graduate of St. John's Law School, Mr. Feiner immediately put his academic skills to good use. He led the campaign to open committee meetings of the Westchester County Board of Legislators to the public. This successful effort prompted Common Cause to name Mr. Feiner one of six national recipients of the Common Cause Public Service Achievement Award in l982. His award cited Mr. Feiner's "force of imagination, initiative and perseverance that have made an outstanding contribution to the public interest in the areas of government performance and integrity."
In l983 he was elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators, defeating two opponents who were supported by the political establishment. As a County Legislator he always put his constituents first. Thanks to Mr. Feiner the county Legislature adopted a number of open government reforms, including meetings with public speaking access. And, in l986, Mr. Feiner established the "Have a Heart for the Homeless Committee" which to date has helped over 400 families avoid homelessness. As a Legislator Mr. Feiner worked to lower utility rates and find housing for indigent families.
In l99l, he was elected Town Supervisor of Greenburgh, the largest town in Westchester County. Mr. Feiner is currently the second longest serving Supervisor in history of Greenburgh and is tied for the distinction of being the longest serving elected chief executive in Westchester County. During the past 25 years Mr. Feiner has addressed the infrastructure needs of the town. The most significant of these accomplishments took place in 2003 when Greenburgh moved its Town Hall to a new facility: 177 Hillside Ave. The building, which is partially powered using solar energy (thanks to a NYS grant), was purchased at a price significantly below market value: $6.9 million. In the early 1990s, when the building was built, the cost of constructing 177 Hillside was over $12 million. An incredible bargain!
Other infrastructure enhancements include: The town, with the assistance of a $2.1 million NY State grant, constructed a 2nd floor at the Theodore Young Community Center. A multipurpose center for seniors was dedicated, most of the funding came from non tax dollars. A new public works garage was constructed. A water pump station was built that connects Irvington residents to Greenburgh’s water supply. Nine new playgrounds were built without using taxpayer dollars. There have been two additions to the police headquarters. A new interactive kiddy pool was built. In 2008 the town completed the construction of a $20 million library expansion (approved by the voters), The library uses geothermal power to heat the building. In 2016 the town is expected to adopt a comprehensive plan which will address the long term infrastructure needs of the town, including land use, flood, parking, maximizing the revenue the town can receive on vacant parcels of land. In 2011 the town approved a hazardous mitigation plan—enabling the town to obtain federal funds to address flooding. In 2014 the town made a major change. The town started purchasing new sanitation trucks that uses automation to pick up garbage (an electric arm) started serving sections of the town. The automated refuse collection vehicles reduces collection costs and increase collection efficiencies. There will be fewer worker compensation claims. The new truck requires one employee compared to three employees on older trucks. Supervisor Feiner has also funded the replacement of all the water meters and is replacing street lights with LED lighting, which are more efficient. In 2015 the town built over 1.6 miles of new sidewalks. Additional new sidewalks leading to area schools are expected to be built in 2016.
Moody's has increased the town's bond rating 3 times under Feiner's leaderhip. In August, 2001 the town received a new rating of AA1, the second highest rating a municipality can receive. In September, 2006 Moody’s highlighted Greenburgh’s “strong financial operations…solid fiscal management.” In 2007 the Town Board voted to approve a fund balance policy to guide future Town Boards on the use of fund balance. Very few communities have fund balance policies. Standard & Poor's Bond Rating Agency upgraded Greenburgh's bond rating to AAA, the highest rating a municipality can receive in 2008. Less than 1% of all municipalities in the nation have a triple A bond rating from both Moody's & Standard & Poor's.
Mr. Feiner's unique Town Board meetings were so widely recognized as models of good government that they were profiled in a C-Span special report in l997. Hudson Valley Magazine said that Town meetings in Greenburgh are the best in the Hudson Valley. Feiner initiated a new concept called Dial Democracy, where residents have telephone access to Town Board meetings in progress. Town Board meetings are also archived on the town’s web site: www.greenburghny.com
. In 2008 the Town Board voted to stream Town Board meetings live on the internet. The Board also voted to televise work sessions, one of the few communities that does so.
During Mr. Feiner's tenure as Town Supervisor, the first new rental housing in 33 years was built in Greenburgh. In 2013 a new workforce apartment complex (WESTHAB) was built in the Fulton park section of town. A new assisted living facility and an affordable housing project that is being built on property the town foreclosed on is expected to open in 2016. Mr. Feiner started a Farmer's market, a sculpture in the park & summer jazz concert series on E Hartsdale Ave and in 2016 expects to construct a veterans memorial on E Hartsdale Avenue. In September, 2006 Greenburgh became the first town in Westchester County to approve a franchise agreement with Verizon, providing area residents with cable TV competition. Madison Square Garden built their training facility for the NY Knicks, Rangers and Liberty teams in Greenburgh in 2002. Dannon moved their national headquarters to Greenburgh (across from Greenburgh Town Hall). Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet opened in 2015 In 2011 Acorda Therapeutics joined Seimans, Beyer, Epicept, Profectus Biosciences, Progenetics Pharmeceuticles, PsychoGenics, Regeneron Pharmaceuticles, Apex Laboratory,Additives Division
, Standards Research Services I International
, CCS Research Inc
& Biomed Pharmaceuticals
and other bio tech companies that have decided to locate in Greenburgh. Greenburgh is becoming the bio tech capital of the Hudson Valley!
In 2007 the Greenburgh Town Board adopted very strict ethics laws restricting the ability of elected officials from accepting contracts from those who have proposals before the town or business with the town. In 2013 the town initiated plans to reassess all town properties within the town to create equity and fairness among all taxpayers. The last reassessment took place 60 years ago. Supervisor Feiner is leading a county-wide effort to encourage other communities to join forces with the town on reassessment, to cut costs.
During Supervisor Feiner’s tenure the town’s crime rate has gone down to the lowest levels in recorded history. Under Mr. Feiner’s watch the town expanded the police department by creating a Technical Rescue Team – a specialized response unit for extremely hazardous and difficult situations (1997). A canine (K-9) unit was established in 2003, using a dog to help make apprehensions –locate missing persons and track suspects. The town established a community policing program – putting police on foot and bicycle, giving residents more direct access to the police. . In 2003 the town funded a police explorer post, geared to kids 14-20 years old, providing young men and women with exposure to law enforcement. A summer police camp has been offered to students each year for over a decade. The town also has a Youth Court—young offenders are defended, prosecuted and judged by their peers. In 2014 the Town Board created a Human Rights Liaison Committee to work with the county addressing human rights concerns. In 2016 Greenburgh became the first community in Westchester County to outfit all patrol officers with body camera's.
During Supervisor Feiner’s tenure the police department has received national recognition for their Child Safety Inspection Program which assists parents with proper installation of child safety seats. Greenburgh is one of the only localities in the state that uses police officers to provide residents with emergency medical services. The program was expanded during Supervisor Feiner’s tenure to include services to all six villages within Greenburgh.
Greenburgh's parks were not only rebuilt, the town became the first municipality in the state to place a referendum on the ballot establishing a dedicated fund for parkland acquisition. Under Feiner’s leadership the town increased the number of acres of open space from 200 acres to more than 600 acres. Three major new parks were acquired: Harts Brook Nature preserve, Glenville Woods and Taxter Ridge. All three parks were acquired with the assistance of the state and county governments. A new dog park opened in 2008. In l999, Greenburgh became the first locality in the region to ban pesticides on town property. In 2014 outdoor exercise equipment was placed at Travis Park. The Supervisor is currently working on an effort to promote organic recycling.