After an unsuccessful race 30 years ago, Michael Gallagher, 63, is taking another stab at running for the Peculiar’s open mayoral seat after two years on the city’s board of aldermen.
“I was tired of the way the economic development was,” he said “We weren’t going anywhere. We were just there spinning our wheels.”
A former law enforcement officer, volunteer firefighter and home builder, Gallagher, a longtime Peculiar resident, keeps busy these days owning his personal lawn care business of 34 years – managing both residential and commercial accounts.
Outside of work, Gallagher also serves on the Peculiar Cemetery Board of Directors and is president of the Homeowner’s Association in Lee’s Summit.
The lifelong public servant said he enjoyed working as a police chief in Peculiar and as a deputy for the Cass County Sheriff’s Office from the 1970s until the early 1980s.
“I loved it,” he said. “I had a good group of people to work with and the best thing is, we always went home in the evenings.
Gallagher was primarily responsible for working burglaries, and averaged an 87 percent conviction rate.
“I liked digging up the old stuff,” he said. “Going back through the records, I’d grab a license plate number or a description, and I was like a dog with a bone – I wouldn’t leave it alone. Normally, I found out who it was.”
Following his stint in police work, Gallagher moved into a career of home building and grounds keeping.
Peculiar is a larger community than it was in 1984 when Gallagher made his first run for public office for the mayor’s seat. He recalls the town’s population being just over 700 people.
“When people came to town, everybody knew everybody,” Gallagher said.
It was a friendly place, he recalls.
“It was a great group people up there,” he said. “The bad thing is that those times have come and gone.”
Since, the city has grown to more than 4,600 people, becoming more of a bedroom community to the Kansas City metropolitan area. Because of that, Peculiar is now being forced to hurdle over a different set of issues.
Gallagher refers to them as growing pains.
“I want to try to make a change,” he said. “Everybody is after growth. When you have growth, then you have problems. I think a lot of the problems we can do away with.”
He said the city has their hands full of work with the 211th Street interchange going in over Interstate 49, along with a $5 million dollar water improvement project.
In his term as an alderman, which began in 2012, Gallagher said he’s also specifically helped the Peculiar Police Department get their share of money from the Cass Tel sting operation and a new generator.
“I gave them my two cents worth, and come to find out, they took a couple of them,” Gallagher said. “I would be more than pleased to serve the people up there (as mayor). With whatever it takes, I’d like to be a working mayor.”
Gallagher said he isn’t afraid of helping out where he can – literally.
“I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves and get myself dirty,” he said. “That includes if the boys need help out there at a busted water line or sewer line, I’d be the first to jump in the hole.”