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.

Oct 14

See something? Say something!

Posted on October 14, 2019 at 9:53 AM by Jerry Andree

Cranberry’s police department is among the best anywhere.  We have highly trained, full-time professional police officers who are passionate about their service to our community.  Their record of service to Cranberry is tremendous.  

But, like every emergency service, police work is often complaint driven.  That is, the majority of police actions have been prompted by someone calling 9-1-1 to report something.  It could be to report an emergency that has just happened – a crash, a fire, a break-in, someone hurt, and so forth.  

Or it could be about something suspicious – someone being where they shouldn’t be, or hearing something unusual, or witnessing something out of place.  Of course, it could turn out to be nothing – a perfectly legitimate event.  Or it could be potentially connected to a serious crime.  In either case, those are the sorts of things our police are trained to investigate and to act on if it’s required.  

But you shouldn’t hesitate or feel self-conscious about calling 9-1-1 just because it’s possible that what you report could turn out to be a non-event.  No one will be mad at you.  In fact, having citizens call in is the police department’s early warning system – the community’s first line of defense.  So, when you think about Cranberry, with all of its 31,000 residents keeping an eye out for things that could be going wrong, you have a huge safety asset in place.  And when you combine that with the private surveillance cameras, video doorbells, and other security electronics that people have installed, you have an even bigger asset. 

There’s a lot more to say about this topic, so we’re going to hold a Coffee and Conversation get-together at 6:30 on Thursday, October 17 in our Public Safety Training Center, located near the Public Works area, adjacent to Community Park.  Bob Winters from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be our guest, along with Cranberry Police Chief Kevin Meyer, to talk about the important role that residents play in public safety.  

I hope to see you there.  But whether you can make it or not, I’d love to hear your thoughts about public safety and citizen participation in it.  You can reach me at: jerry.andree@cranberrytownship.org 
Oct 07

Dog advocates help Township become more pet-friendly

Posted on October 7, 2019 at 2:09 PM by Jerry Andree

Suppose you lived in a town with wonderful parks, but you were told: “Sorry, your children can’t play here.  Those are the rules.”  You’d be very unhappy about your town’s rules.

As it turns out, a lot of people in Cranberry think of their dogs as being members of their own family.  They treat their dogs with the same respect they show one another, and they feel discriminated against because their four-legged children haven’t been allowed to play in the parks.  After all, those are the rules.  

Cranberry’s Board of Supervisors heard their complaints and, about a year and a half ago, encouraged a group of dog owners and dog business owners to get together and work on changes to those rules.  That group, now known as the K-9 Connections Committee, held a series of meetings with Township staff and department heads to figure out how to make Cranberry a more pet-friendly community.  

Their work involved a number of moving parts – park access, leash rules, noise control, and more.  And in each instance, they had to balance the rights of dog owners to enjoy their pets in public places against the rights of others to enjoy those places free of dogs.  

This past month, the Board heard and approved an initial series of recommendations from the K-9 group which focused on access to Township parks.  As you might expect, those recommendations were both detailed and nuanced, striving to balance the potentially conflicting interests of dog owners against those wanting nothing to do with dogs. 

In essence, dogs on leash will soon be allowed along the nature trail and play areas of the newly constructed Disc Golf Course at North Boundary Park.  Signs will be placed at a number of points stipulating the conditions of access.  A corps of volunteer “Ambassadors” will be on hand to offer guidance to dog owners.  And, should it become necessary, persistent violators will be issued citations by the police department.  

Meanwhile, in response to a newly donated parcel of property adjacent to Cranberry’s Public Safety Training area, the Board initiated a new master plan for the north end of Community park which included relocating Rotary Dog Park to a bigger, better, flatter, shadier, and less isolated area of the park.  

I am convinced, as a result of the K-9 group’s hard work collaborating with one another as well as with Township staff, that dogs and their owners will find themselves in a much friendlier, more accepting community.  And for that, we owe the Committee members a huge debt of gratitude. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts about how Cranberry is doing at accommodating pets.  Write to me at: jerry.andree@cranberrytownship.org  


Sep 11

What really counts in real estate? Location, location, location – and schools

Posted on September 11, 2019 at 11:56 AM by Jerry Andree

As a lifelong practitioner of local government in Pennsylvania, I can tell you that what passes for a “normal” relationship between a school district and the municipality is not a good one.  It’s either non-existent or confrontational.  They disagree about taxes.  They disagree about facility access.  They disagree about traffic.  And the list goes on.

However, that is not the case between Cranberry Township and Seneca Valley.  Both of us fully recognize our dependence on one another.  Both of us are committed to excellence.  And neither of us takes success for granted. 

Cranberry, as you probably know, has developed a reputation across the Commonwealth for its obsession with planning and managing the life cycle of its community.  And it’s well-deserved.  We carefully study the life cycles of communities all around the nation and meticulously examine those factors that cause communities to fall into economic decline.  Then we work equally hard to make sure we avoid those factors.  

Usually when a municipality is experiencing decline, that decline is mirrored in its school district. Symptoms of a declining municipality include loss of population, increased average age, decreasing average income, declining property values, and the exodus of quality employers. 

In a public school system, decline is often reflected in furloughing teachers, closing schools and eliminating programs such as art, music, languages and, if things get really bad, even athletics. 
Whichever symptoms of decline come first is a matter of debate.  But in our case, the governing bodies of both entities as well as their respective administrations, fully understand the reliance we have upon each other.  We both believe that “great communities need great schools and great schools need great communities.”  

So I am very proud of our strong collaboration – a relationship which is only possible because of the personal commitments of leaders in both entities. 

On a more personal level, I am exceptionally proud that my children have elected to build their lives and raise their own families in Cranberry and in the Seneca Valley School District.  I am delighted that my grandchildren will be taking advantage of the world-class programs our school district offers.  I am also so pleased about the commitment Seneca Valley is making to public education.  That way I know Cranberry Township will continue to be one Pennsylvania’s most desirable communities in which to live, work and play, well into the future. 

To see what I mean, the Seneca Valley School District recently released three videos that demonstrate their commitment to excellence.  If you haven’t seen them yet, click on these links: 

Seneca Valley Student Rigor  

Seneca Valley Student Wellness

Seneca Valley Staff Excellence 

I would love to hear your thoughts about our Township-School District connection.  You can reach me at jerry.andree@cranberrytownship.org