by Robert Kimmel –
A dozen years have passed since Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner has faced opposition in a general election, but he will this November, and he said he welcomes it.
“I’m pleased that I have an opponent. I think it is good for democracy to have contested elections,” said Feiner, who has held the supervisor’s post for 28 years.
His opponent for the Supervisor’s position is Lucas Cioffi, who will run as an independent for the top governing job in heavily Democratic Greenburgh. Cioffi bases his challenge on what he defined as a need for more transparency and community participation. He described Feiner’s record as having been “non-transparent.”
Feiner refuted those claims. “Actually, we are very transparent. We have gone the extra mile to be transparent. Every day, I post information about our programs and meetings and issues on the town website and on social media,” he said. Feiner noted that at town meetings, time is taken to share information with the community. He also said he is “very accessible,” a point very few people in Greenburgh would contest.
“We were one of the first communities to stream board meetings and work sessions live,” Feiner related to The Hudson Independent. “We have committees made up of citizens to help choose our consultants, and review applications,” Feiner noted, regarding community participation.
Cioffi believes he has momentum because Feiner has not had opposition in general elections for 12 years. “Democracy works better when we have a choice,” he stated. Furthering his position on transparency, Cioffi said, “There is another level of authentic transparency where you don’t come in with your agenda, you come in with the information.”
A business owner, and software engineer, Cioffi is a West Point Graduate and was a U.S. Army Captain. He served as an infantry officer in Iraq, 2004-2005, following Army Ranger training. During a five-year period while living in Washington, he pursued open government and environmental initiatives, and served on the board of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, whose aim is to develop greater political and racial harmony.
During the racial violence that took place in Charlottesville in 2016, while living there with his family, Cioffi also served on a committee to lessen tensions in the community.
Feiner countered Cioffi’s claim his record as supervisor has been stagnant. Feiner cited the town as having achieved a very high bond rating, “the highest possible,” he noted. It has complied with the state’s tax cap, and during his tenure, he added, “more sidewalks have been built, more parkland created, and more affordable housing built.” He also cites his environmental record with solar energy and food scrap recycling initiatives. “I think I have done a good job,” he stressed.
Feiner was only 12 when he first engaged in politics, serving as a volunteer during a winning congressional campaign for Ogden Reid. He was involved at age 16 in a pursuit to get the county to open the Bronx River Parkway for cyclists. He graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University and went on to earn a law degree at St. John’s University School of Law. Feiner was elected to the County Board of Legislators in 1983. He was first elected Town Supervisor in 1991.
Their competing campaigns will remain courteous, both candidates contended. “I will respect his suggestions or concerns,” Feiner said of Cioffi.
“This campaign will be bold yet respectful and without personal attacks,” Cioffi said.