It’s really fun to watch someone who truly enjoys doing their job. Seeing them pour themselves into their position and take delight in doing it right can inspire you to step up your game.
Steve Galliher is one of those people. The guy just loves being mayor of Sedalia, and he proves it day in and day out.
“It’s fun. I like getting up every day and coming to work,” Galliher told me. “I have a good staff to work with; it’s a good atmosphere. I like doing my best to help people.”
Getting out among his constituents – or as he calls them, “my bosses” – is a daily occurrence for Galliher. He drives around the city to see what areas need attention and if residents need help with anything.
“I was always taught that if you are going to do something, do it 100 percent and do it the best you can,” said Galliher, a retired 39-year veteran of the railroads. “I’m busier now than I was when I was working.”
Sedalia’s mayoral post is set up as a part-time position, but Galliher typically is on the job daily from 8 a.m. until “whenever I go home. The other day I left early, I left at 4:30.”
Work ethic is only part of the equation. Executive Administrative Assistant Joleigh Melte said Galliher’s positive attitude and enthusiasm for his work make a real difference.
“It’s the way he works with people,” she said. “There is hardly ever a time when he is not willing to stop and talk with somebody and he is very good about making sure he gets back with them. When he is addressing you, that is the most important thing at this moment. People really recognize that and they appreciate that.”
Angie Thomas, executive director of the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce, appreciates Galliher’s commitment to attend ribbon-cuttings and business openings.
“He is just a joy to be around and he speaks freely at those events and is a great representative for Sedalia,” she said. “The mayor’s job is one of those positions where … you (must be) available night or day. I believe he attends as many events as he possibly can. I know his schedule can get overbooked at times but he makes a lot of events.”
Galliher is guided by the Golden Rule and doesn’t allow himself to simply say “no” to a resident’s request.
“Sometimes people will call and it’s not a big problem, at least to me it’s not – ‘OK, let’s get your alley graded,’ and we get it done – but to the guy on the other end of the phone, it is a big, major issue or he wouldn’t have called you in the first place,” the mayor said. “So you have to treat it the way he wants to be treated.”
If the city cannot provide the solution the resident is seeking, Galliher does his best to provide a reason for the denial, such as the request goes against city code.
“They hear the truth when they come here,” Galliher said. “We can either do something for them or we can’t.”
Melte said Galliher always has residents’ and the city’s best interests at heart.
“That is the whole thing – he is going to get to know you, he is going to get to know the whole situation no matter what it is and he is going to make sure no matter what that by the time you are done speaking with him, you’re going to have the most feasible option that works for everybody,” she said.
Galliher also is quick to praise the city staff for any accolades that come his way. He said “it’s not a secret, it’s a fact” that success in the mayor’s office comes from relying on the staff’s expertise.
“They are the ones who make me look good,” he said. “You got your pot hole filled? Don’t thank me, call the street department and thank them. They put the asphalt in the hole, I just knew who to call to get it done.”
Thomas said one of Galliher’s better traits is that he is genuine, “He is the same person all of the time.”
“He just adds some life and some fun,” she added. “I can’t think of anybody better to lead our community than someone like Mayor Galliher.”
Having seen Galliher in action when he was a council member, the new title has not changed the man.
“Yes, I’m ‘Mayor’ and I am still getting used to that – I’m just Steve,” he said. “But I work for every single person in this city. I have more than 22,000 bosses and that is who I work for. That door is always open for my employers to come in and let me know what they think and give me suggestions.”
Bob Satnan is the communications director for Sedalia School District 200.