There are two times a year when I can count on being contacted by news media. One is Thanksgiving where some enterprising reporter is working on a story about communities with names like Drumstick, Arizona or Stuffing, Iowa and, of course, Cranberry Township. The second is at the end of the year when someone is preparing a wrap-up story about the year’s accomplishments.
As a result, I’ve been getting calls lately about what Cranberry achieved in 2010. Perhaps I should have been better prepared for them, because my first reaction was that 2010 seemed to have been a fairly routine year. Everyone at the Township did their job. No great disasters or prize-winning achievements came to mind. I couldn’t think of any noteworthy scandals. Children who regularly went to school and cats that didn’t run away from home don’t make very interesting headlines.
So I decided to make a list. And the list kept growing. Pretty soon, I became astonished by the number of important accomplishments Cranberry actually made in 2010.
That list is posted at http://www.cranberrytownship.org/2010Accomplishments
But even more significant was the dual revelation that, first, Cranberry is really a very special community, and second, that it’s awfully easy to become complacent and take that for granted – which is a huge mistake. Why?
Just look at any local or national news coverage and what do you see? Partisan politics. Name-calling. Denunciations. Threats. Ultimatums. Posturing. Political gridlock. Fed by shrill cable news and talk radio hosts, dysfunctional government has become the new norm. Much of America today is in a state of paralysis. The idea that units of government are acting in the public interest has become something of a joke in today’s cynical, cash-driven political environment.
That’s why Cranberry is all the more amazing. It’s not as though we are immune from the toxic atmosphere around us, nor is it that our own Board of Supervisors sits around singing Kumbaya. Instead, it’s the Board’s realization that at the end of the day, their work as elected officials will be judged by what they’ve collectively accomplished. So their guidance and encouragement to make Cranberry the best possible community and to run its public functions in the most professional manner, has inspired all of us on staff to do our best and to really get things done.
Happy New Year.