There are hundreds of municipalities in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Each of them is responsible for a variety of tasks related to safeguarding their residents’ health, safety, and welfare. But relatively few do them really well, according to the Allegheny League of Municipalities. That’s something the organization would like to see change.
So this spring, a handful of outstanding municipalities – mostly in Allegheny County – were publicly recognized for good government practices. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald made the League’s presentations. But even though we’re part of Butler County, Cranberry Township, as an Associate Member, was honored as one of the program’s first Banner Communities. Why?
For years, friends and colleagues from other local governments have asked me the same thing: why is Cranberry so successful? Some of them turn cynical about it, saying it’s because our taxes are so low – as though low taxes were some sort of unsavory scheme. Or that it’s just because of our location and great highway access. Of course, good roads are important assets.
But there are lots of other communities in the region situated near major highways which haven’t come even close to achieving their potential. And in just about every case, it’s because their officials have succumbed to the same electile dysfunction which has turned the nation’s Congress into a squabbling, impotent entity – one that ignores real issues and instead, continues kicking the can down the road for others to deal with.
Here in Cranberry, the members of our elected Board of Supervisors also have strong opinions. But in our case, they manage to park their differences at the door when they gather to set course for Cranberry Township. That’s when their focus turns to what’s best for Cranberry’s residents. Politics and ideology don’t drive those decisions. Instead, our Board has a clear understanding of its own policy-making role, as well as the implementation role played by the Township’s professional staff. They fly at 30,000 feet, giving clear direction about where to head, leaving the staff to get it done and then holding me accountable for the result, which is a responsibility I welcome.
The League’s recognition program was created last year to show that it’s really possible to have good government at the local level. That’s a good thing because local governments have more impact on residents’ daily lives than any other level of government. The Banner Community program honors municipalities who do a particularly good job of advocacy, cooperation, education, and communication. And we’re very pleased to have been chosen for this honor.
We’re also proud to note that the mover behind the formation of that recognition program is one of our own. Dick Hadley, who is the Executive Director of the Allegheny League of Municipalities, is himself a Cranberry resident, a long-serving member of Cranberry’s Board of Supervisors, and a very strong supporter of non-partisan, good government.
We’re flattered to be in such good company.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about local government. Write me at: email@example.com