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Mayor Pat McGrail

Meet Pat McGrail, Mayor of Keller now in his third term. As a community leader in Keller, McGrail has worked to shape the agenda since he moved to the city more than 20 years ago. He is dedicated to helping the city reach its full growth and potential. 

As a former airline executive who managed thousands of employees, McGrail is confident in a leadership role. He served on the Keller City Council before winning the post of mayor. McGrail lives in Keller with his wife, Pauline. They are the parents of three grown children.

We wanted to get to know Mayor McGrail a little better and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions.

Dawn Tongish: Keller is an established community that is always growing. What projects are on the horizon that will improve the quality of life for citizens?

Pat McGrail: One of the things I’m excited about this coming year is the major expansion and update of The Keller Pointe. That facility is unique as the only city-owned recreation facility in Texas whose operating expenses are self-supported by membership and program fees; it’s something the citizens enjoy and take pride in, and one of the many things that bring people to Keller. We’re actually dedicating a lot of money this year to the parks and trail system, into updating existing parks and building a new one near Shady Grove Elementary School. We’ll also be working on accessibility, expanding a couple of key intersections to make them safer and more efficient, and reconstructing several residential streets. On the economic development side, we’ll see the opening of a movie theater this year as well as a high-end childcare facility and more choices for shopping and dining.

DT: What makes Keller stand out among the surrounding communities?

PM: The quality of life — that’s what brought me to Keller and what brings most citizens to Keller. We have a small-town feel, but with all the big-city amenities as well as a wonderful school system, beautiful parks and recreation facilities, outstanding public safety and sound fiscal management. Our low tax rate and variety of quality housing that complement any lifestyle make Keller very appealing.

DT: Managing such a large city and thousands of people is a big job. What do you do to reset?

PM: The City of Keller is lucky to have a strong, effective leader in City Manager Steve Polasek. My role is largely to help provide direction to the city staff, develop consensus among the council members, strengthen relationships with other city, county and state leaders, and stay active around town as a city representative to several different business and nonprofit organizations. When I need to relax, I enjoy spending time with my family — my wife, our children and grandchildren — and taking the occasional weekend at the lake.

DT: What is the latest book you've read?

PM: I enjoy reading political biographies; the last one I read was about George W. Bush’s years in the White House.

DT: What are your top three goals for the city in 2014?

PM: To continue the momentum we’ve developed over the last several years in terms of quality commercial development that offers more shopping, dining and service choices to our citizens; to improve the overall attributes and amenities of the city, thereby improving our quality of life; and to do all of that while maintaining one of the lowest tax rates in the region.

DT: What one accomplishment are you most proud of in your tenure as mayor?

PM: The overall city image continues to improve and we continue to become more and more a City of Choice throughout the Metroplex. I became mayor just before the Great Recession hit, and it’s been challenging the past several years to maintain service levels and continue growing this community while weathering everything that came along with the recession — lower sales tax revenues, a slow-down in commercial development...etc. They were a lot of small council decisions that built upon each other, but the overall result of where we are now and where I see us going is the accomplishment of which I’m most proud.

DT: When you have a few minutes just to drive around the city, where do you like to go?

PM: Part of why I love Keller is because it’s so diverse. Sometimes I’ll drive up into North Keller to enjoy the open spaces and the rural nature of its roads, and look at the horses; sometimes I like to drive through some of the upscale neighborhoods that South Keller is known for; I enjoy driving around our parks and watching our citizens play and fish and spend time together as families; I have fun running into friends at The Keller Pointe; Old Town has this great synergy, especially now that it’s becoming a more popular destination for evening entertainment; and on the weekends I like to check out the Keller Sports Park and see the thousands of kids that facility serves having a good time.

DT: Do you have a favorite restaurant in the city?

PM: That’s a tough one, but I’d have to say FnG Eats here in Keller Town Center. Their food never disappoints.

DT: What can the residents of Keller do to improve the neighborhoods in their community?

PM: They can simply continue to take pride in their neighborhoods — keep them looking nice and look out for their neighbors. I’d also encourage all of our residents to strengthen their partnership with our public safety professionals to ensure their neighborhood is unappealing to criminals, and to continue offering their invaluable feedback to the city staff and the council. My fellow council members and I truly consider ourselves representatives of our citizens, and their feedback on issues we’re facing as a community, or needs they have in their neighborhood, are critical to the process.

DT: What is your favorite movie of all time?

PM: I really enjoy movies, but it seems I never have much time to watch them. When I do, my wife and I like some of the old classics.

DT: You are surrounded by advisers, but when you have to make a really tough decision, whom do you turn to most often?

PM: God. I pray about it.

DT: If you had to describe your "bubble" (Keller) in three words, what would those words be?

PM: City of Choice

DT: Do you have a top goal in your personal life? (Are you going to scale Mt. Everest?)

PM: My goal is to someday be able to sit back and just enjoy my life with my wife and family, and to stay in good enough health that I can attend and dance at my grandchildren’s weddings.