The long time councillor, along with City of South Perth councillor Colin Cala, were recently awarded Local Government Merits from the WA Local Government Association as part of the annual Local Government Honours.
Mr Gleeson spent 12 consecutive years on the council before moving to the City of Canning as an adviser.
He was then elected to the Canning council in 1992 and served until 1995, before returning to the City of South Perth council in 2002.
He served until 2009, and was re-elected in 2011 where he now serves as a Como Beach ward councillor.
‘It was a real buzz first being elected in 1978,’ he said.
‘Every time you get elected it’s an achievement but the first time is a real buzz.’
He said that serving as a councillor would teach you things that you could never learn otherwise and the role was about serving the people.
But Mr Gleeson has not only served the community as a councillor, Bill Gleeson Gents Hairdresser has operated in South Perth for 51 years.
In 1962, he opened his store on Moresby Street before moving shop to Canning Highway.
‘I have always had an open door approach to residents who require advice,’ he said.
‘I’ve never turned anyone away. I’ve always been a people person; it’s part of my job.’
He said the way council worked had changed dramatically since 1978.
‘When I first got elected, there were 15 members and a mayor. Committee meetings were behind closed doors,’ he said.
‘Nobody got paid, but there was a pack of cigarettes for you.
‘Local government is now more transparent than it has ever been.’
This year’s local government election will see the City of South Perth decrease its wards from six to four and elected members from 12 to eight.