Stories From Main Street: Checking Greenburgh’s Budget Is All In The Family
GREENBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Imagine your father coming in and checking up on you at work. That’s what is happening in one Westchester County town, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams On The Story
Phil Feiner goes through Greenburgh‘s finances with a fine tooth comb.
“It’s nickels and dimes, but it adds up,” he told Adams.
Is he a comptroller or an auditor?
“No title,” he said. “Just a volunteer.”
But he’s not just any volunteer. Phil Feiner is the 91-year-old father of Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner.
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“I’ve been in office now 21 years and I welcome the fact that my father could be my biggest critic,” Paul Feiner said.
The elder Feiner is retired. He worked in accounting and in the family’s ash can business in the Bronx.
Once a week, he sifts through invoices.
“It’s very simple. Because there’s so much waste in government, the way I look at it, when I look at an invoice, it’s a personal thing,” Phil Feiner said. “I don’t believe in throwing out a dollar. I believe in a fair shake. I don’t believe in taking advantage of anybody.”
He discovered the town wasn’t submitting claims for ambulance runs.
“And as a result of that, they received $1 million a year for Medicare,” he said.
He said that when the library needed a new roof, “They forwarded a bond issue for $300,000. I said ‘That’s ridiculous.’ and they had two good estimates. I said yes to the third estimate and they came up with a $25,000 job, and they saved $275,000.”
“It’s a great service and the town has saved a substantial amount of money – millions of dollars – thanks to my father’s volunteer efforts over the years,” Paul Feiner said.
The fruit didn’t fall far from the Feiner tree.
The supervisor prides himself on being cost-conscious and finally creative and Greenburgh has a Triple-A bond rating.
But at the end of the day, father knows best.
“Somebody said to me, ‘We should send Feiner to Washington.’ and they weren’t talking about me. They were talking about my father,” said Paul Feiner. “I also want government to be run as tight as possible and as efficiently as possible and I feel that having somebody like my father reassures the public that their dollars are being spent efficiently.”
The elder Feiner said he is very proud of his son.
“If my father ran against me, I’d probably vote for him,” said the younger Feiner.
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