Steve Weinstein, CPA

BY PAUL BONNER

Managing partner, Weinstein & Weinstein, CPAs
Mayor, Fair Lawn, N.J. (pop. 32,000)

Performing the duties of mayor of Fair Lawn, N.J., and managing a busy CPA practice in neighboring Teaneck is time-consuming. I usually stop at Borough Hall first thing in the morning to take care of correspondence, telephone calls and e-mails, and then go to my office to take care of accounting matters. Proper allocation of time is critical in order to fulfill all my responsibilities.

Meeting people is always rewarding. I see different people at Rotary, firefighter meetings, general business luncheons or charity events. It is a good feeling to be received well and to be able to help people who have problems that can be resolved. The community is filled with many volunteers, and Fair Lawn offers its residents many parks and ballfields and a brand new community center. As a kid from Brooklyn who didn’t have these things when I was growing up, I am glad that my kids have them now.

I was always interested in politics and government. In high school I was class treasurer and organized a debate between congressional candidates. In college, at George Washington University in the nation’s capital, I worked as an intern for our congressman. I had the opportunity to meet Hubert Humphrey, “Tip” O’Neill and a lot of other national figures. I also attended the Democratic National Convention, which was an outstanding experience. I always had in the back of my mind that one day maybe I would get involved in these activities.

My interest in accounting started early. During the summer, I worked for my family’s accounting firm and joined it when I graduated from college. The firm was founded 80 years ago by my great-uncle in downtown New York. Now my father and I continue the partnership in Teaneck. Practicing with my dad is also rewarding because we get to spend a significant amount of time together.

When we moved to New Jersey, I joined the Teaneck Chamber of Commerce and after a few years became its president. After a short time, I was also involved in the Teaneck Economic Development Corp., and in Fair Lawn I became a member of the Rent Leveling Board.

I have been mayor for a year, and I have been on the council since October 2001. This November, I was elected to another four-year term, which gives me an opportunity to continue to work with people and accomplish things. I have learned that when people are on two sides of an issue that they feel is not resolvable, bringing a new perspective sometimes allows them to modify their views. I work very hard at bringing people together, and I think that if people know you are being honest in your approach, you earn their respect. Then, even if they do not get everything they want, they understand that the process is fair. My accounting background gives me the ability to analyze issues, think of many alternatives and reach a proper solution.

You hear it over and over, but it is true—you have to enjoy what you do. Nevertheless, without family support, it’s very difficult to balance government, work and family obligations. My wife, Linda, and my kids, Sari, Zachary and Ashley, fully support the things that I do. They give me energy and a sounding board. With their continued support, I would consider other elected offices in the future, but for now, I’m giving my full effort to the Fair Lawn Council, my business and my family.

I am getting the best of both worlds. I fully enjoy my accounting practice and my governmental participation. The best reward of all, however, is having a loving family that allows me to do what I do. In return, I give them as much time as possible, so that I will never have to look back and say, “I missed my kids growing up.” I know there are many years ahead, but so far, life has been pretty good to me.

SPONSORED REPORT

How to make the most of a negotiation

Negotiators are made, not born. In this sponsored report, we cover strategies and tactics to help you head into 2017 ready to take on business deals, salary discussions and more.

VIDEO

Will the Affordable Care Act be repealed?

The results of the 2016 presidential election are likely to have a big impact on federal tax policy in the coming years. Eddie Adkins, CPA, a partner in the Washington National Tax Office at Grant Thornton, discusses what parts of the ACA might survive the repeal of most of the law.

QUIZ

News quiz: Scam email plagues tax professionals—again

Even as the IRS reported on success in reducing tax return identity theft in the 2016 season, the Service also warned tax professionals about yet another email phishing scam. See how much you know about recent news with this short quiz.