Government

As Summer Wedding Season Approaches, Olean Mayor Inches Closer to Performing 100

6bb663ac2a940f5d829e_DSC_1975.JPG
Mayor William Aiello sits in his office at the Olean Municipal Building. Credits: Taylor Kickbush
6bb663ac2a940f5d829e_DSC_1975.JPG

OLEAN, NY— Olean Mayor William Aiello appreciates positive follow-up.

The self-proclaimed “hometown boy” has lawfully wed 83 couples since his term as mayor of the city began on Jan. 1, 2014.

“I have one kid, actually, who every time I see him goes, ‘We’re still married!’ and I say, ‘Keep it going!’ ” Aiello said, laughing. 

Sign Up for E-News

On any day of the week Aiello offers his free time for joining two people together in lawful wedlock. Typically, a service takes about 15 or 20 minutes.

Aiello has seen a wide variety of couples who come to him unwed and leave married “until death do them part.” He has had women arrive at the Olean Municipal Building in wedding dresses, has seen young children refusing to leave their mothers’ sides during the service and has witnessed many nervous couples taking their vows.

 Aiello has been nervous, too, especially at the first wedding he performed.

“Here I am bringing two people together and having them take that solemn oath that they will stay as one, and it was exciting," he recalled with amusement. "I was a bit nervous about it. It was actually a young couple, and the gentleman was going overseas to be deployed, and they wanted to get married before he left. ...I think I probably screwed up on the lines.”

Aiello performs weddings without charging a fee. In order to officiate, he requires that the couple take their vows within the city limits and have a marriage certificate issued at least 24 hours prior to the event.

“There is no cost, but what I do accept is donations which go into the Mayor’s Scholarship Fund,” Aiello said. “When people give a donation it goes into the fund and I give out two scholarships each year. This year we were able to give out two, $250 scholarships with the only criteria being that the recipients are interested in going into business or criminal justice.”

This year both scholarship recipients intend to pursue degrees in business.

“The most someone has contributed has been $200 and the least has been $5. The option is available if couples would like to give,” said Aiello.

Aiello never imagined he would be officiating at weddings – a role that increases his list of jobs and responsibilities since boyhood. He had been a paperboy, spent school summers working for Olean Beer Supply, refereed high school sports and completed a 32-year career in law enforcement.

Aiello said his passion for his hometown Olean community as well as inspiration from a former coworker built his interest in the political arena, eventually leading him to pursue and win the office of mayor.

Eighty-three weddings later, Aiello is expected by some to perform 100 wedding officiations before his first term in office is over on Dec. 31.

Aiello is not 100 percent positive that he will reach that mark.

“I don’t know if I’ll reach 100 weddings this year,” he said. “We need 16 more to reach 100, and I have two more that I know are planned. We’ll see. We are only in May. We might get there.”

He added, “I never dreamed it would be this many, you know? I don’t know if individuals are not having big church weddings anymore or any of that, but I’m happy to provide this service.”

Aiello ensures the Olean community that he is not judgmental and will marry all people regardless of race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or age.

“I will do whatever the law allows me to do,” Aiello said. “If that’s what individuals’ choices are then I respect that.”

Aiello, a sports lover, husband and grandfather to 11, jokingly asked if I planned on getting married any time soon.

And he added that he has had a great career and enjoys the job he is doing today.

“I just love working with people,” Aiello said.

 

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

Grandpa Practiced Sustainability

My grandpa was of the Depression Era. Sustainability wasn’t “a thing” back then — it was just the way you lived. Though he was raised in a time when you were thankful to be able to put a good meal on the table, he likely had a standard of life that we would consider average or middle class today. He didn’t grow up in a slum or shanty town, but he did understand the ...

'March for Our Lives' Started A Historic Movement

Shoes on the ground. People chanting. Signs held high. Music playing in the background.

It is the start of a historic movement. A moment when every race, gender and age came together as one. A movement that involved change and a March for Our Lives.

As a student journalist going out to the world, taking part in a national movement truly moved me. Reporting the significance of March for ...

Bonnies Historic Season Will Give Community Source of Pride Years to Come

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY -- The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball season came to an end earlier than the team had hoped. Coaches looked disappointed, and players covered their faces with towels. St. Bonaventure’s (26-8) loss to Florida (21-12) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament left many thinking what if?

However, the Bonnies historic season is nothing for the team to ...

Two Joes Scholarship Fund to preserve legacy of community businessmen

May 25, 2018

For many, a memorial scholarship is a living way to continue the memory of a loved one.

For Hank Certo and Louis “Ledgie” DeRose, the Two Joes Scholarship Fund is a way to remember two people who left a huge impact not only on both them, but also the entire community.

Certo and DeRose recently established the Two Joes Scholarship Fund in the name of community-minded businessmen ...

Golf “Fore” Heroes Fund supports Wounded warriors through golf

When he takes to the course on July 7, CJ Mackey will do so with a smile, but he will also know that there is a whole lot more to the day than birdies and bogies.

As a member of the Golf “Fore” Heroes Tournament committee, Mackey has been a part of organizing the annual tournament to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which has now raised over $17,000 since 2016.

This ...

William D. and Catherine Griffin Fraser Fund established at CRCF

Nothing can replace the kind of love that persists and flourishes for 43 years, but William Fraser has found a way to preserve the name and memory of his late wife, Catherine Griffin Fraser.

Fraser recently established the William D. and Catherine Griffin Fraser Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation to make possible an annual scholarship and grants to the Olean General Hospital ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...