By LINDA KELLETT
For the Recorder
OPPENHEIM -- Once again, there's been a switch in leadership at Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School.
When O-ECS District Superintendent Dan Russom was placed on administrative leave for an undisclosed reason late last week, members of the board of education appointed Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel to serve as the acting superintendent of the district, which is in the process of merging with St. Johnsville.
Following a closed session Tuesday night, the board members rescinded the prior motion and approved a new one, appointing Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua to serve in that capacity instead.
A press release posted to the H-F-M BOCES website Tuesday afternoon explained why the switch was necessary: "In the statutory role as representative of the New York State Education Department, a BOCES district superintendent is required to assume the responsibility of superintendent in any component district when the position becomes vacant."
The release noted that while the merger vote between Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville Central Schools "technically created a new school district when the final vote was certified... Oppenheim-Ephratah CSD remains a component of Herkimer BOCES until June 30."
Michel, who was not present for the videoconference with Vivacqua and the O-ECS board Tuesday, wrote, "Mr. Vivacqua's long-term relationship with the district and its board makes him a more natural person to guide Oppenheim-Ephratah at this time. He has been gracious enough to step into that role."