James Cheney is a 1981 Graduate of Midlakes High School, and then went on to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology where he graduated with a degree in accounting.
In 1992, while chair of the St. Felix Church Parish Council, he helped found the House of John, located in Clifton Springs, and now serves on the board of directors. In addition, James founded the Phelps Community Center and the Phelps Business Development and Tourism Council and still continues to work with both organizations.
He was mayor of the Village of Phelps for 16 years before retiring from this position in 2016 – during which he was a weekly opinion columnist for the Finger Lakes Times for 5 years. While a member of the Victor-Farmington Rotary Club, he started a Christmas Giving Tree that has been active for 30 years and has provided over 50,000 gifts to families in need.
James is a member of the Phelps Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Bank of the Finger Lakes Advisory Board, is Treasurer and a board member of the Mary Hicks Preston Foundation and the Kyrias Foundation, is on the Finger Lakes Health’s board of directors, and is a member of the Sons of the Phelps American Legion. James also served on the Ontario National Bank board of directors in Clifton Springs.
James has received the Paul Harris Award from the Victor-Farmington Rotary Club and was recognized by Ontario County during Victim Advocacy Week for his assistance in opening the Child Advocacy Center. Recently, James was recognized as a Graduate of Distinction by Midlakes High School.
Presently, he is the principal owner of James E. Cheney CPA, PLLC and co-owner of the Phelps Mercantile located in Phelps, New York. James also serves as controller for several local businesses, including Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer, as well as a member of the board of directors, for Ontario & Trumansburg Telephone Companies.
James lives in Phelps with his wife of nearly 30 years, Dawn. They raised four children and hosted over 12 Foreign Exchange Students through AFS and Rotary International.