Steele returns to the mayor’s seat at Wellsville

By Theo Tate
Posted 6/1/23

The Montgomery County Senior Center will be hosting its Third Annual Paddle Auction at 6 p.m. on June 2 at the Old Settlers Picnic Grounds in New Florence.

Senior Center Director Jill Burch and …

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Steele returns to the mayor’s seat at Wellsville


All of his life, Howard Steele has been proud to be a Wellsville resident.

“I just like the small town community,” Steele said. “I don’t like anything that’s really big. This is where I’ll be until I die. I live on Southeast Street. Just down below is a cemetery and that’s where I’ll end up.”

Steele was born and raised in Wellsville, graduated from Wellsville-Middletown High School 50 years ago and worked for the City of Wellsville for several years. Now, he’s back as the town’s mayor.

Steele returns to the mayor’s seat after a two-year hiatus. He was elected as mayor after defeating Sally Naysmith 131-45 in the April 4 election. Steele replaced Dena Saak, who was Wellsville’s mayor for 19 months before resigning on Nov. 29.

“I was always interested in where the city is going,” Steele said. “I’ve seen that it wasn’t going where I thought it was going or I thought it should go with the leadership that we did have, so I thought maybe I could put my name in the hat again and see if I could win. And I did. I’m not sure that I could make that much difference, but you have to get along with your council in order to make things work.”

Steele served as Wellsville mayor from 2001 to 2021. In the 2001 election, he defeated incumbent Pat McKnight by six votes to win the mayoral race for the first time. Twenty years later, Steele lost to Saak by 29 votes.

Steele said his goal as mayor is to simply help make Wellsville a better place to live.

“There are no big major changes that I want to do other than keeping the streets going. We have to get some infrastructure fixed up so we can impress people when they want to come in,” Steele said. “We don’t have as much to offer as the big cities, but we’ll do what we can do and we’ll go from there.”

Steele worked for the city after graduating from W-M High School in 1973. He also worked for Montgomery County Road and Bridge.

Steele had his second city council meeting as mayor on May 17. Richard Wilson, Tom Mayes and Jesse Maylee – who became acting mayor pro tem after Saak resigned – are the aldermen.

“I’ve known them all of my life,” Steele said. “Whether we’re in (city hall) or out on the streets, I think we get along OK.”


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