Jerry Andree, Township Manager

Jerry Andree, Township Manager

No level of government has more impact on daily life than local government. That’s why my colleagues and I at Cranberry Township are passionate about pushing the limits of excellence to provide the best possible services to our residents and customers. However, being well-served is not a passive achievement; it is a collective undertaking. Through this blog, we offer our personal reflections on that assignment. And we hope it will help engage you in joining us on that same collaborative mission.

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Jul 05

How I connect the dots

Posted on July 5, 2011 at 1:44 PM by Jerry Andree

Like most of my Cranberry neighbors who work in the private sector, I head to the office each morning and spend my day dealing with the same sorts of things they face. Things like dealing with customer requests, budget challenges, staffing levels, technology issues, conferences, and board meetings. I work with my colleagues and counterparts trying to figure out the new rules, regulations and mandates which regularly arrive from Harrisburg and Washington – almost all of which are unfunded. I fret over health care costs, prepare for presentations, and solemnly attend professional association seminars.

So, like most of my neighbors, I sometimes see my workday efforts as being terribly fragmented, unfocused, even pointless. But not always. What helps me connect the dots – to really understand what all of that busyness amounts to, is that on weekends I walk the “floor.” That’s where the real meaning of my work life comes together. And it helps recharge my batteries. Take a recent Saturday.

It started at home. I took a shower, using plenty of clean water, courtesy of our Public Works Department. That water went down the drain and off to Cranberry’s Brush Creek wastewater treatment plant, run by our very capable Sewer and Water folks. Then I went out to the curb to retrieve my waste carts, which had been emptied – and in many cases with their contents recycled – thanks to our Collection Connection program contractor. Then I dropped off some old computer parts at an electronics recycling event we hosted. And after that, I took some unused prescriptions to a Public Safety collection station behind the Municipal Center for proper disposal.

Then I walked into the Municipal Center. It was full of people coming and going from programs in our Library and gym, as well as neighborhood meetings in the activity rooms. When I left, I was reminded that the well-landscaped streets I was navigating were the outcome of what had seemed at the time to be endless staff meetings, paperwork and contract negotiations.

Of course, there was traffic – plenty of it. But the traffic was moving. And that movement is the outcome of sophisticated traffic control technology which was only possible after repeated shuttling back and forth to Harrisburg, dealing with mountains of paperwork, and holding endless hours of meetings with state officials to secure funding to buy the equipment and support the passionate staff who maintain that system.

As I drove past, I also noticed how nice Cranberry’s business properties look. And I recall that those features were results of laborious visioning and planning sessions with our Community Development Department, our Planning Advisory Commission, and our Board of Supervisors. The same with Cranberry Highlands – Pennsylvania’s top municipal golf course – and our beautiful parks where parents, children and grandparents are walking, biking, and cheering on their favorite teams.

Then on my Township radio, I heard about a traffic accident. Within minutes, our highly-trained, well-equipped safety professionals arrived on the scene. Seconds later, I got a text message informing me about the accident, advising me to seek alternative routes and of the projected time until it could be cleared. Where did that come from? It came from all those budget, planning, and staff meetings that once seemed so onerous.

Most people don’t realize what makes a community tick. And the better it works, the easier it is to think that working well is simply the norm. It’s not, but I’ve had the good fortune to be part of one of Pennsylvania’s best-working, most desirable communities. I report to an elected Board that truly gets it. And we have a staff of passionate professionals and dedicated volunteers who make every day here an amazing experience. It refreshes me and reminds me of the connection between what I see around me and those mounds of paper, phone calls, and meeting notes that sometimes seem to dominate my life.

I would welcome your thoughts about how we can help connect the dots for you.

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