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South Jeff business administrator, a steady hand during fiscal uncertainty, retires after 30-year career

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ADAMS — As he departed from his role as business administrator and number cruncher for the South Jefferson Central School District, Joseph J. Eberle said it was the people he connected with who made his work special.

“Our residents are proud of South Jeff schools,” he said. “It’s the lifeblood of the community, and people sort of treat that relationship with respect,”

During his 30 years in the position, he is credited with being a steady hand through uncertain financial times. “The last five or six years have been very difficult for South Jeff, and honestly, he’s single-handedly found a way to keep our district with many of our educational programs,” Superintendent Jamie A. Moesel said.

Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Jack J. Boak Jr. said the district was hit particularly hard by those financial challenges.

“It was really the perfect storm of the loss of revenue, rising expenses, combined with the a cap on the amount of money you can raise,” he said. “It really was a mission impossible. He just did a wonderful job despite that.”

One reason for his success, Mrs. Moesel said, was his tight connection to the community.

“Joe has three priorities in his life: faith, family and South Jeff,” she said. “Nothing could ever sway him away from those three things. That’s the way he is.

Mr. Eberle has been with the district since Oct. 17, 1983. After an office job at G.L. Thomas & Sons and another selling computers, the then 28-year-old saw a listing for an opening at the school. “It suited my skill set pretty well,” he said.

Among his favorite moments in the role were the large capital projects in the mid-2000s at the district’s Clarke Building and the rebuilding of the Maynard P. Wilson Elementary School in Adams Center following a large explosion there in 1987.

Mr. Eberle has no plans to stop working after his retirement. In addition to supporting the school’s search for his replacement and spending more time with his wife, Kathleen, four children and six grandchildren, he will become the business manager for Faith Fellowship Church, Watertown.

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