As a teenager, Paul Feiner relentlessly lobbied county legislators to build a bike path along the Bronx River Parkway. He called their homes, organized rallies, and spoke — at length — at every meeting. Finally, the legislators agreed to the path, with one condition: that Feiner stay away from the county board for six months.
Looking back, Feiner says his feelings weren’t hurt. He recalls that he was back six months later, successfully suing both the county board and his native Scarsdale to end their closed-meeting policies.
Once called a gadfly (and worse), Feiner today is the ultimate incumbent, having served 26 years as Greenburgh’s supervisor. Yet he remains an unsual politician, hyper-focused on constituent service. Atop Feiner’s car, a sign reads “Mobile Problem Solver,” his home phone number prominently displayed. (Recently, the supervisor was mistakenly hailed as a taxi driver.) He gets involved in everything from garbage-pickup complaints to securing home aides for elderly residents, irritating government officials but acquiring loyal voters along the way. Still, Feiner, who lives in Greenburgh (of course) with his wife and 17-year-old daughter, says that people who believe he “lives and breathes politics” might be surprised to know that he works out at least an hour and a half every day — swimming, biking, and running.
Has he mellowed? “I’m not in as much of a rush,” Feiner, now 60, says. “I used to come up with an idea and think it had to be implemented tonight. Now I realize it takes a day or two.”