This is my last message to you as the Cranberry Township Manager as I retired January 5, 2021.
It has been an honor serving this community for 30 years. What an amazing journey it has been for myself and my family. This journey started in 1990 when we were living in the Harrisburg area. I was serving as the Manager for Hampden Township when the Cranberry position opened.
My wife and I are from Westmoreland County and when we shared with our friends that I was applying for the position we were questioned as to why we would consider going to a place that was nearly desolate. At that time, Cranberry was still viewed as a place people passed through on their way to Erie.
That was then.
What convinced my wife and I to embrace this opportunity was the passion and vision for Cranberry that was shared with us by the former members of the Board of Supervisors. The elected officials, at that time, realized the community was going to change. The corridor of I-279 was recently completed and growth was moving north. That passion, vision and commitment to this region continued in every Board I had the distinct honor of working for in those 30 years. The
dedication of the elected officials has consistently been a direct reflection of the passion shared by the residents. Their desire and loyalty to serve our region has created one of the most desirable communities in the Commonwealth in which to live, work and play.
In the mid-90s, the Board implemented new development regulations that ultimately steered the Township into becoming a forward-thinking, managed-growth community. Those efforts were met with significant resistance by a group of landowners and developers who were focused on replacing the elected and appointed leadership of the Township to change that direction.
When I discussed with my family and the Board that perhaps I need to look elsewhere for employment, the responses were loud and clear: stay the course. The Board was confident it was following the will of the residents to ensure a sustainable future and was determined not to cave to political pressure.
The family’s position was equally supportive, which was confirmed when one of my children said he would chain himself to the backyard tree if we left Cranberry. The decision to stay was my second-best professional decision I ever made. The first? Accepting the position with Cranberry Township.
I am very proud the Board stayed the course of championing strong growth management that is now used as a model across the state. That new direction in managing growth and putting the residents first has guided Cranberry to become a world class community.
Together, we have made many accomplishments over that time. Those include our physical infrastructure, along with a highly skilled, dedicated group of public employees who maintain and operate our parks, roads, sewer, water, library and public safety services.
Another equally important accomplishment is the social and educational foundation that sets Cranberry Township apart. That foundation includes the Miracle League, Cranberry CUP, Cranberry Township Community Chest, Rotary and Lions Clubs, various youth sports programs and the Cranberry Area Diversity Network. It also includes the many service organizations such as garden clubs, faith community, private &
non-profit sectors, and our excellent Seneca Valley Schools. Those are the pillars that sustain this amazing community and will be the forces that ensure Cranberry continues to thrive.
I am often asked why Cranberry Township is so successful. The answer is simple: Cranberry’s culture. It is one where the Township’s elected officials historically have made prudent decisions, with a practical and humble approach. There is a saying the Board often uses that ‘it is easy to do nothing and hard to do the right thing.’ They are always committed to doing the right thing.
At the very core of that culture is the commitment to collaboration. It is the practice of working with all stakeholders and advancing shared common goals for the betterment of this community. It has been an honor to be a part of that approach to local government.
My family and I are deeply appreciative of the support that we have received and the personal relationships we have developed. When people ask if we are staying in Cranberry Township after my retirement, the answer, of course, is yes! This is where we belong, and where our children and grandchildren live. I also have great comfort in knowing that our community will continue to be served by an amazing group of dedicated public employees committed to excellence.
Now when our friends visit, they look in awe and ask why their community is not like Cranberry. My wife and I just smile. That was then and this is now.
Thank you and it has been an honor. See you around town.
I, of course, always welcome your feedback. Please email me at Jerry.Andree@CranberryTownship.org.