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Longtime Cranberry supervisor, chairman dies

Richard “Dick” Hadley, a supervisor in Cranberry Township for more than two decades, died Tuesday night at age 72. Submitted photo
‘Guiding Force’ behing township

Richard “Dick” Hadley, a strong presence as a supervisor in Cranberry Township for more than two decades, died Tuesday night at age 72.

First elected to the Cranberry Township Board of Supervisors in 1995, Hadley presided over the township through its years of growth, development and evolution.

“Words cannot express the tremendous grief our community is experiencing over the loss of this great leader,” a statement on the Cranberry Township website reads. “Hadley’s impact will be ever-present, as his fingerprints are on every aspect of the township.”

“We are what we are today because of what Dick did,” Mike Manipole, supervisor vice chairman, said in a statement. “He provided stability and leadership while making the tough decisions that have made Cranberry the incredible place it has become.”

A Republican, Hadley served as chairman of the board of supervisors multiple times over his tenure as a board member. He was a Cranberry Township resident for more than 40 years. His term was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2027.

“He was a champion of the Cranberry Plan (the township’s comprehensive planning document) and strong planning in the community,” township manager Dan Santoro said. “He was a great visionary leader, and it will be a huge loss for the township for sure.”

Hadley had Cranberry Township’s community at heart for the entirety of his years of service, Santoro said.

“He started as a volunteer in the Parks and Recreation Advisory committee, ran for township supervisor, and had great vision,” Santoro said. “The kind of things that Dick was involved in over the last almost 27 years as township supervisor, there was North Boundary Park, and the Waterpark was just under construction. Graham Park was not even conceived, (as well as) the golf course, not to mention the large amount of transportation projects, most recently the MSA Thruway.”

Hadley was a leader across a plethora of local and state organizations. He was a municipal consultant with Public Partners of PA, and retired as executive director of the Allegheny League of Municipalities in September of 2015. He was a past president of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors. He also served as chairman of the North Hills Tax Collection Committee and as a commissioner on Pennsylvania’s Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission.

He was passionate about Cranberry Township’s parks, serving as chairman of the township Parks and Recreation Board and volunteering as a coach and officer of the Cranberry Township Athletic Association.

Hadley was also a past president of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, as well as a past chairman of the North Hills Council of Governments Managers Committee. He was a member of the board of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, the board of trustees of Municipal Risk Management Trust, and the board of the Local Government Academy. Hadley previously served as municipal manager for Reserve Township in Allegheny County.

Mentor to many

Manipole described Hadley as an “amazing” person, who took the priorities of the township seriously.

“He’s one of those people who you meet once in a long, long time, if not a lifetime. He meant an awful lot to me. I probably wouldn't be where I’m at today without his help,” Manipole said. “He used to always agonize over decisions, and he said, ‘You’ve gotta do what’s right for the family and the community.’ Every decision he made was like a decision he was making at home, for all the right reasons. His wisdom was incredible.”

Hadley was a family man, and a man of faith, supervisor Bruce Hezlep said.

“While he was a leader, and I’ll miss his leadership and his guidance, quite frankly, the thing I will miss most is his friendship,” Hezlep said. “Cranberry lost a great man who really did a lot for the community as a whole.”

By drawing from his experience as a municipal manager, Hadley was able to see Cranberry at multiple levels, supervisor Bruce Mazzoni said.

“He knew it from both ends. He knew it from the operational standpoint, the day-to-day, the nitty-gritty, and of course, as a supervisor with the township, we looked at it more at a board-of-directors level. He was able to transpose both of those,” Mazzoni said. “He had great insight to share with not only his fellow supervisors but with staff also. He was well respected.”

Supervisor John Skorupan said Hadley was a “quiet but strong” leader, and cited his work on Cranberry’s comprehensive plan as foundational.

“He and Jerry Andree worked 20-some years ago to get the first comprehensive plan going, and that helped us get impact fees from developers, fund roads within the whole township, and started the whole process of where we wanted to put things,” Skorupan said. “He was a good leader, and he is going to be missed.”

For Andree, manager emeritus of Cranberry Township, Hadley was a mentor.

“He was a visionary leader, and he was a trusted mentor to me and a very valued friend. Dick always put the township’s best interests forward,” Andree said. “I worked with Dick as a supervisor from 1995 until I retired last year, and even in the early 90s, when I came in early 1991, Dick was on the Parks and Recreation advisory board at the time.”

Andree also worked with Hadley as part of Public Partners, he said.

“He continued his professional involvement after his retirement, helping the community and doing many things for the township, as well as keeping his passion in local government by helping other communities around us,” Andree said. “I keep wanting to pick up the phone and call him.”

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