CANONSBURG – Borough manager Terry Hazlett says he plans to spend more time with his family, especially his special needs son, when he officially retires April 30.
Council accepted 63-year-old Hazlett’s retirement request at a meeting Monday night.
Hazlett, who is in his 11th year as borough manager, submitted to Mayor David H. Rhome and council his plans to retire last week. He is the borough’s second longest tenured manager, second only to James Puchany, who served from 1964 to 1982.
“Over the 3 1/2 years that I’ve been here in office, working with Terry has been a pleasure and an honor,” Rhome said. “He has helped to move Canonsburg forward.”
In an interview Monday prior to council’s meeting, Hazlett said he will miss working with the people of Canonsburg, but he will especially miss those borough employees who played such a major role in the borough’s accomplishments over the past decade.
“It’s not me; it’s a we here. Everbody here has to help or nothing happens,” Hazlett said.
Hazlett came to the borough in 2002, after having served as executive director of the Arc Washington Foundation. He replaced former manager Alice Prokopovitch.
Prior to Arc, Hazlett was employed by the Observer-Reporter, for which he continues to write a bi-weekly entertainment column.
While Hazlett was new as borough manager, he was not a stranger, having founded the borough’s annual Oktoberfest festival and served as president of the Greater Canonsburg Chamber of Commerce.
“I saw Canonsburg with having so much potential,” said Hazlett, who explained when he interviewed for the position he was told council was interested in hiring someone to promote the borough’s assets with the hopes of drawing more residents.
Since then, the borough’s population has grown from 8,600 to 8,900, he proudly explained.
“The borough has sustained very well when small towns are drying up,” Hazlett stated.
Since being hired, Hazlett has played a large role in the borough gaining the title of “America’s Small Town Music Capital,” mostly because of its honoring of its native celebrities Perry Como and Bobby Vinton. A statue of Como stands outside the borough building. His music fills the air 24-7.
The borough is now in the works of opening the Pop Music Hall of Fame with the first 20 inductees being named this summer. The borough’s Hot Diggity Dog days that were created as a one-time event for Como’s 100th birthday proved so popular that it is now going to be held annually as a fundraiser for the hall of fame.
But, it’s the resurgence of the borough park and 77-year-old pool that Hazlett takes the most pride in.
“I truly believe it’s the best around,” he said.
And, of course, there’s the borough’s annual 4th of July celebration.
As borough manager, Hazlett said he found it necessary to be a “jack of all trades” as he has tackled everything from the budget to temporarily managing the public works department.
When asked if he’ll now be able to slow down, Hazlett said he’s eager to give it a try. He said he’s ready to spend more time with his family and concentrate more on Adaptive Sports, a nonprofit sports league for children with special needs. Hazlett’s 20-year-old son is a member of the league.