Most everyone calls him Bill. He's a long-time public accountant who raised his family here in Claremore. He's active on numerous boards, committees and civic groups. For the past five years, Claremore has called him mayor and William "Bill" Flanagan hopes they'll keep at it a few more years.
This week incumbent mayor Bill Flanagan announced that he is running for another term as mayor.
He says most of what he's helped accomplish as mayor is tangible—able to be seen by anyone living or working in the city.
But the things closest to his heart may not be visible to the casual observer.
"What am I most proud of during my time as mayor? Bringing the council together," he said. "When I came into office it was chaos. Half the council was filing ethics charges against the other half. So the first order of business was to settle it down. Then we have got the council working as a group. Not everybody agrees but there's no such disagreement that it causes chaos for the city, it's residents or employees."
What he most wants his community to know about him isn't inherently obvious either.
"I'm more approachable than people may think," he said in an interview with the Progress.
From beside him, wife Lou chucked—"It's an accountant thing, I think. People don't realize they can talk to him. But when they do they realize he's a true leader, a problem solver. That he does what he says he's going to do and that he just wants to help make Claremore a safe place for people to raise their family."
"He's visionary," she added. "He sees the big picture."
Flanagan, ever a "numbers guy," preferred to let the numbers speak for themselves.
"For the first time in 25 years, we built roads with no tax increase. City finances are stronger today because we have balanced budgets and controlled expenses. And we brought the city into compliance with state audit requirements," he said. "We improved the water system to sustain Claremore's growth through 2045. We invested $2 million in public safety equipment for Claremore police and fire department."
He said the city is building two miles of sidewalk per year for the next seven years "so our children can safely get to school and to make our town more pedestrian friendly."
Flanagan said two splash pads have been constructed in the city during his tenure.
"The city has established a self-insured workman's compensation system resulting in first year operational savings of $200,000," he said. "And we've raised the quality of life for the citizens of Claremore and Rogers County in so many ways. Our economic development efforts have allowed major manufacturers to expand in Claremore rather than move somewhere else. Recruitment of new business, industries and retail development is strong."
Flanagan served 18 years on the Claremore Park Board, during which time the board received national recognition for their community accomplishments. In 2004, Flanagan was named Claremore’s Citizen of the Year for his contributions to the City of Claremore and in 2014, received a Career Achievement Award from Claremore Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Board of Trustees for Rogers State University Foundation and served as Board Chairman for 21 years for Hope Harbor Children’s Home. Flanagan also served in the United States Army as a military officer.
When asked why Claremore, an emotional Flanagan said, "Claremore has always been good to me, to my family. Where you're blessed, you give back. And that's Claremore."
"Bill is a man of character, experience and integrity," said Paul Pixley, owner of Pixley Lumber. "Having the business experience and sound fiscal discipline that he brings to the table makes him the best choice for Claremore to be able to successfully move forward. Much has been accomplished for our city during his tenure as mayor."
Flanagan said it has been an honor to be part of the team that drives Claremore forward.
"It’s been humbling the number of people that have asked me to run again for Mayor” said Bill Flanagan. “I love Claremore and want to do everything possible to help make this the best city in the state to live and raise a family”.