John M. Barrett

Manager's Message

John M. Barrett
Township Manager

SF Logo Web Slideshow

Jan 25

Accomplishments show bright side of challenging year

Posted on January 25, 2021 at 10:52 AM by Andrea Iglar

I know everyone can relate when I say it feels good to put 2020 in the rearview mirror.

Undoubtedly, the past year presented South Fayette Township with unprecedented challenges and a series of obstacles that seemed never-ending.

If there is a silver lining to the twists and turns of 2020, it was the way we responded to each and every challenge and forged ahead despite the pandemic that demanded so much of our attention.

I am proud of the resolve the township has displayed and would like to share a few highlights from the past year.

In 2020, South Fayette welcomed more than 25 new businesses, including six new restaurants.

Construction stayed strong, with the township issuing 379 building permits for home improvements, new construction, additions and other projects.

The nonprofit South Fayette Conservation Group secured a $13 million grant to clean up Millers Run, a tributary of Chartiers Creek, by building a treatment plant to remove the orange-tinted acid mine drainage from the water.

The township secured $635,000 in grants, sponsorships and fundraising to advance projects such as expanding Fairview Park and implementing the police body-worn program, which aims to improve officer-citizen interactions and safety.

Our investment to pave more than 75 roads topped $2 million, while our Public Works Department repaired 83 storm inlets, sealed 7 miles of roadway, and mowed 94 acres of parkland and 141 miles of grass along roads.

The Recreation Department offered 55 virtual programs and socially distanced events, such as Joy-Thru Fairview.

We also prepared new programs that are launching in 2021: the South Fayette CitizenLink mobile app and the Military Banner Program.

Our 2020 accomplishments speak to the remarkable resolve of the South Fayette community and the spirit of the residents, businesses and employees who make our community strong.


John M. Barrett
South Fayette Township Manager
Oct 14

Township continues to forge ahead during pandemic

Posted on October 14, 2020 at 9:31 AM by Andrea Iglar

As we enter the fourth quarter of 2020, I reflect upon the year so far with mixed emotions.

On one hand, 2020 has brought South Fayette Township a series of challenges like never before. The coronavirus pandemic forced us to cancel South Fayette Community Day, our July Fourth fireworks celebration, Summer Playground Camp and just about every other community gathering that we take such pride in offering.

However, despite all the obstacles of 2020, I am optimistic and excited about the future.

In this issue of South Fayette Connect—the magazine’s 20th issue since it first published in 2016—I would like to highlight the very good work the township has been able to accomplish this year.

Going into 2020, our primary goal was to expand and enhance the annual road paving program.
The 2020 budget earmarked more than $2 million for roadway improvements. Despite construction activities being temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus, and safety precautions impacting our traditional office work environment, our ambitious plan to improve the road network has been successful.

The vision and leadership of the township Board of Commissioners have been key, as the elected officials urged us to forge ahead when many communities were reluctant to take on large projects due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

And forge ahead, we did. Not only have we undertaken the largest road paving program in township history, but we also have pursued long-term capital projects that will serve the community for years to come.

Most notably, the township plans to construct a new municipal building and police station on recently purchased land along Hickory Grade Road.

The new facility will provide the police with desperately needed accommodations to provide professional services and will equip township staff with space to operate more efficiently and cooperatively. We anticipate a groundbreaking in early 2021.

Additionally, the commissioners have formed a strategic plan for the existing municipal complex on Millers Run Road that will address the facility needs of the South Fayette Township Library, provide community spaces and potentially offer indoor recreational amenities.

These projects have long been talked about, but for a variety of reasons could not be completed. With strong teamwork and leadership from the commissioners, these projects now are being pursued in a responsible manner. Soon the community will have the opportunity to participate in the planning process to help make this vision a reality.

I look forward to our momentum carrying over into 2021. For example, as part of our five-year Capital Improvements Plan, we will leverage more than $1 million in grant awards to make significant improvements to Fairview Park and Morgan Park.

The future is bright in South Fayette!


John M. Barrett
South Fayette Township Manager
Oct 14

South Fayette values community policing

Posted on October 14, 2020 at 9:31 AM by Andrea Iglar

Events such as the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have prompted questions and concerns across the country about training, transparency and accountability in police departments.

South Fayette Township believes in hiring and training law enforcement professionals who respect all citizens and uphold the values of community policing.

South Fayette police officers are very well trained, and Police Chief John Phoennik has worked very hard to create a culture of community-oriented, professional officers who are committed to maintaining integrity in public safety.

The South Fayette Township Police Department emphasizes its policy on the appropriate use of force and follows guidelines that protect the lives of both officers and citizens.

Perhaps more important than having a strong policy and procedure manual is the ongoing training that prepares officers to uphold policies when the time comes.

With this philosophy in mind, the township has invested heavily in training.

We recently purchased a virtual reality simulator to allow for officer training in a COVID-19 environment. The equipment helps officers learn to make appropriate decisions under stressful circumstances.

Chief Phoennik is working to launch a body-worn camera program, with assistance from a $25,000 grant. The cameras, worn by all officers, will record interactions with citizens, providing a tool to help determine areas for additional officer training.

The township also has partnered with Lexipol, a national leader in technology, policy and training solutions for public safety agencies. This partnership will help ensure the South Fayette police have up-to-date, comprehensive policies and procedures in place, plus provide a platform for online learning and training opportunities.

These training efforts are not a new concept to our police department. Rather, they are evidence of the township’s ongoing, long-term commitment to providing professional, responsible, community-based police services.

I hope all of you will join me in thanking the men and women of the South Fayette police who work hard every day to protect and serve our township.


John M. Barrett
South Fayette Township Manager