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November 18, 2019

Politics

This Greenburgh campaign sign says it all.
Lucas Cioffi, independent candidate for Greenburgh supervisor.
Supervisor Paul Feiner in his office at Greenburgh Town Hall.

This Politician's Unaccustomed To Challenges At The Polls

Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner will not say it out loud to news reporters, but he is facing his toughest challenge in many years on Tuesday, Nov. 5

Turnout for early voting in the town has been reported as strong and Feiner, a Democrat, has not had a challenge in the November general election since 2007. An estimated 1,300 residents already have voted. About 10,000 can be expected to vote townwide through Tuesday.

The last time Feiner faced any opposition was in the 2013 Democratic primary election, which Feiner won. 

In earlier interviews, Feiner has acknowledged that independent challenger Lucas Cioffi, 39, of Edgemont is a strong and talented candidate. Cioffi is running on the Greenburgh Party ballot line and has squared off in several debates with Feiner. A link to those debates can be found by clicking here. 

However, Feiner has no trouble with name recognition: His campaign sign says it all: "Paul, Always On Call."

Feiner said he's gotten a lot of positive feedback this year. His toughest prior opponent was in 2005 when Bill Greenawalt challenged him in a Democratic primary. The winning margin was fewer than 200 votes.The main issue that year was on library expansion/renovation.

Is longevity an asset or liability? Cioffi supports term limits, while Feiner believes he's more effective as town supervisor now than ever since his first election in 1992. Feiner is tied with Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi as Westchester's longest-serving town supervisor. Puglisi, a Democrat, is running unopposed again on Tuesday and has been that town's supervisor for 28 years.

Feiner, 63, believes he has remained popular with constituents over the years because he has been responsive to most of their concerns, delivered balanced budgets and provided strong public services townwide.

Feiner has no trouble with name recognition: His campaign sign says it all: "Paul, Always On Call."

"I feel I'm getting more done now than ever in my career,'' Feiner said. 

Cioffi was smart enough to use one of Feiner's greatest strengths -- communication -- against him. Feiner compulsively remains in electronic contact with town residents via email blasts. Using the state public records law, Cioffi got the town's list of email addresses and has been using it to inform residents of his stands throughout the campaign. Near the bottom of Cioffi's email blasts, he notes: "PS - You are receiving this email, because you receive our town's email updates. The New York State Committee on Open Government has confirmed that candidates running for office in Greenburgh may use the email list as long as we do not use it for fundraising purposes."

Feiner noted that Greenburgh operates within the state's tax cap and maintains a AAA bond rating, the highest rating possible, from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. Feiner said he's also proud of his accessibility, efforts to improve safety -- including installing many new sidewalks and doubling the frequency of recycling pickups.

The fact that the town also serves six villages and three hamlets makes pleasing most factions even more difficult. Villages within the town are: Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings, Irvington and Tarrytown, and the unincorporated parts of the town are known as Edgemont, Hartsdale and Fairview.

Cioffi believes he can do a better job than Feiner. The challenger detailed his stands in an eight-page platform. He points to four key issues as central to his campaign:

-- 1. Place a two-year freeze on town tax levies-- 2. Use real community involvement to get the budget and spending under control-- 3. Significantly increase openness and accountability-- 4. Implement term limits

"We committed to a two-year freeze on both town tax levies, and Mr. Feiner will not make that two-year commitment," Cioffi said. 

Feiner has recently committed to a one-year freeze on taxes.