Wednesday, June 25, 2008, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.
Our special guests are the honorable Paul Feiner, The Town Supervisor of Greenburgh, NY and Ms. Joan Gronowski, a Member of the City Council of Yonkers, NY. Our subject today is, “Is the Size and Scope of County Government Out of Control, and What Can Be Done?”
Mr. Feiner was a 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. In l99l, he was elected Town Supervisor of Greenburgh, the largest town in Westchester County. During the past 17 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! Paul Feiner is the only elected official in the United States to have based part of his salary on performance. He has tied salary increases to achievement of goals and has voluntarily returned a portion of his salary if his goals are not met.
Spotlight Westchester Magazine named Paul Feiner the “most interesting politician in Westchester” in their “the Best of Westchester 200l issue”. Mr. Feiner was also honored by the Rotary Foundation as a Paul Harris Fellow. Mr. Feiner also began hosting a weekly interview program on WVOX Radio (l460 AM) every Friday morning in January, 2002.
Paul Feiner was the Democratic candidate for United States Congress from the 20th Congressional District in l998 and in 2000. Although Mr. Feiner lost the election to the chairman of the House International Affairs Committee, Mr. Feiner won the Westchester County portion of the district by nearly 65% of the vote. In 2007 Supervisor Feiner was elected President of the Westchester – Putnam Town Supervisors Association, an organization consisting of the chief elected officials of every town in Westchester & Putnam counties.
Joan Gronowski is a lifelong Yonkers resident, born and raised on Hawthorne Avenue. She has lived in the Yonkers 3rd district for most of her life. Joan attended St. Mary’s Parochial School and Blessed Sacrament Academy High School, beginning her employment with the City of Yonkers shortly thereafter.
Joan is a retired City of Yonkers employee and former member of the Service Employees’ International Union Local 704, having served as the Union’s Recording Secretary for ten years. Joan worked for many years in the city’s Office of Consumer Protection, corresponding with the private sector as a liaison to resolve constituent complaints and inquiries. During the latter years of her employment, Joan became actively involved in the political process, hoping to bring about more accountability in our public officials. She became a first-time candidate herself, and in November 2007, was elected to the Yonkers City Council representing the Third District.
Meanwhile, the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years, the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”
The Program is sponsored by the Green Briar Adult Home, in Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY.
Richard J. Garfunkel