Perhaps the most famous advertisement in American history was one for Cadillac in a 1915 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. It was entitled “The Penalty of Leadership,” and it talked about how people who do great things and receive great recognition also spawn great envy and spite among their detractors. So if you’re in front of the crowd, you’ve got to watch your back.
In Cranberry, there’s certainly a bit of that – with snarky comments coming at us from a small group of public officials who ought to know better. But here, it’s mostly that when we step up to take on a regional leadership responsibility because it’s the right thing to do, people expect us to keep on doing that while they themselves mostly hang back and watch.
That can get tiresome. But Cranberry is fortunate to be governed by a board of elected officials who truly understand that our Township is not an island but part of a much larger region, and that we all depend on one another. Accordingly, our Supervisors expect us to play an active role in the region. As a result, our board and staff are involved in a wide range of regional organizations and efforts.
They include the Local Government Academy; the Butler County Council of Governments; Butler County projects such as the Strategic Planning Initiative by the Butler County Commissioners and the Butler County Chamber; Butler County Housing and Redevelopment Authority; the Butler County Planning Commission; The Regional Corridor Alliance; The Chamber of Commerce; the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission; the Butler County Tax Collection Committee; the Rt. 19 planning project with Marshall Township, Seven Fields and Jackson Townships; teaching classes for local government officials; serving as facilitators for regional collaboration; Sustainable Pittsburgh; Power of 32, Allegheny Conference for Community Development; Butler County Community Development Corporation; NAIOP, and others.
Our people work hard to sustain those organizations, often playing critical roles in helping them advance their efforts to improve the region. And they do this on top of an already heavy Cranberry Township work load. But, to be honest, we sometimes look around and see that we are the only municipality there, always subject to people’s expectation that Cranberry will handle it. Our leadership is either taken for granted or results in jealous put-downs of what we have accomplished.
The fact is that anyone can do what we have done – if only they’d set their minds to do it. And we sincerely hope that more of them will. But at least for now, Cranberry, which is widely perceived to be one of the best communities in Pennsylvania, seems doomed to pay the penalty of leadership over and over again.