OLEAN – William J. Aiello, a Republican, defeated Democratic Mayor Linda Witte in Tuesday’s election and will become the city’s 27th mayor.
Aiello said Witte has offered to meet with him to make the transition to a new mayor as smooth as possible.
Aiello said his first order of business, along with budgetary items, is going to be to sit down with city department heads to make sure everyone is on the same page. “I want a team effort here,” he said.
That team effort will not stop with the top people, however. “I want to meet with the employees as well,” Aiello continued. “What better way to learn about better efficiencies than through the rank-and-file that work through it every day?”
If the situation continues through the end of the year, Aiello will be taking office with city union employees who have been without a contract for the entirety of the Witte administration.
Another campaign item that the mayor-elect is making plans to address is finding ways to stop the exodus of youth leaving the city.
“I plan to get together with the business people of the area and have round-tables for ideas on how to stop so many of our youth from leaving,” he said. “I think we are on the right track, with things like Jamestown Community College’s tech center. Dresser-Rand is talking about between 30 and 50 people retiring in the near future. Those are skilled jobs. That center is going to help keep some of our youth here to fill those jobs.”
Aiello, representing the City of Olean in the Cattaraugus County Legislature, was part of the group that voted to give the college $500,000 toward the center being built at the Olean campus.
The city loses hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per year, which is lost revenue, and Aiello said he plans to figure out where the leaks are.
“The infrastructure throughout the city is leaking,” he said. “We will need to produce a plan to replace what is leaking. There is a chance that it may come to a street-by-street replacement. If it does, we have to get a plan together and get going on that.”
“The suggestion was made during the campaign of having someone on staff searching for companies that are looking to develop or relocate and try to figure out how to bring them to Olean,” Aiello said. “We have some good things to offer. [Area businessmen] have some good ideas that need to be looked into.”
He also said the Witte administration has said there are people interested in moving into the city after hearing about the Walkable Olean/North Union Street project. “We have to keep momentum going to develop businesses and jobs,” he said.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to Linda Witte for running a campaign of facts and goals with no mudslinging,” he said. “We ran good, clean campaigns that brought out the issues.”
Aiello said he will resign his current post as legislator on Jan. 1, 2014.