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Historical Society chief stepping down

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William G. Wood will resign as executive director of the Jefferson County Historical Society, effective Feb. 21, to be closer to family.

Mr. Wood said the round-trip commute from his Manlius home will be reduced to just 20 minutes when he starts a new job at the Romano Mercedes-Benz dealership in Fayetteville.

“The older I get, the more my bones feel it when I’m driving three hours a day,” said Mr. Wood, 57, who was born and raised in the Bronx.

He also is engaged to be married in June, and after “careful consideration” he decided to remain close to home.

The Historical Society museum is at 228 Washington St.

Mr. Wood has been director of the agency for four years, and has helped expand programs and developed new ones. The agency ended 2012 with more than $14,000 in profit, something it hasn’t done in several years.

In addition to the director, the organization’s paid staff includes a full-time caretaker, a part-time administrative assistant and a part-time bookkeeper. A part-time collections curator position is vacant. The Historical Society also has an education curator, paid for by the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Education Services. The Historical Society’s annual budget is about $225,000.

In a news release issued Saturday, society board President Jeffrey M. Garvey said a search committee to find a new director will be formed soon.

“Bill will be missed and someone hard to replace,” Mr. Garvey said in the release.

Mr. Wood said he is thankful to agency staff, volunteers and supporters for being helpful in preserving local history and the museum’s collection of more than 100,000 pieces. That paved the way for the agency’s recent successes, he said.

“When you’re involved with an organization like the Historical Society, and the museum it has, there’s a lot of passion,” Mr. Wood said. “It’s hard to say I won’t be seeing or talking to these people as much in the coming years. In the long run, this is what I needed to do.”

Over the next couple of weeks, Mr. Wood said, he will reach out to key agency supporters to express his gratitude.

Reaching out to the board is something he hopes to do in his new job duties as a Mercedes-Benz sales consultant, since his initial contact with the company some time ago was about the business becoming a potential sponsor of the Historical Society’s Heritage Days event in June.

Since Mr. Wood has enjoyed the past four years working and mingling throughout the north country, he said, he eventually would like to make it home when he retires.

“We’ve had a wonderful time up here,” he said.

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