Former Oppenheim-Ephratah superintendent getting $100K, insurance

OPPENHEIM – Former Oppenheim-Ephratah Superintendent Dan Russom, who retired in April after he was placed on paid leave in February for unspecified reasons, received $100,000 as well as health and dental insurance upon retirement, documents show.

According to an April separation agreement, which The Leader-Herald acquired through a Freedom of Information Law request, Russom received a $50,000 lump-sum check and “$17,800 by payroll reduction and $32,200 non-elective employer contribution to Mr. Russom’s 403-b account,” according to the agreement. A 403-b is a tax- deferred retirement plan.

“Upon retirement, Mr. Russom shall be entitled to health and dental insurance from the district, for himself and his spouse, with a contribution rate of 10 percent of the premium cost,” the separation agreement states.

Russom had worked for the district as superintendent for eight years.

Russom and Chris Fatta, Oppenheim-Ephratah’s former principal and former head of the D.H. Robbins Elementary School in St. Johnsville, were both placed on administrative leave after Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel and then-Interim St. Johnsville Superintendent Laura Campione Lawrence began an investigation into complaints against the men.

School officials never disclosed the nature of the complaints.

The Leader-Herald sought the information in a Freedom of Information Law request, but the district provided no written answer to the request. Anna M. O’Connell, clerk for the board, said no paperwork or written document listed the complaints.

The agreement states the district releases Russom “of and from all actions, causes of action, suits, charges, complaints, proceedings, grievances, … contracts, controversies, agreements …”

Fatta resigned May 31, the St. Johnsville district said.

Russom was in the final year of his contract, which paid him $127,920 in 2012, according to public records.

The separation agreement states, “The parties agree not to voluntarily disclose or publish the terms of this agreement and to keep it confidential to the extent permitted by law.”

Russom joined the district after 27 years in Northville, most spent as a history teacher. He became high school principal in 2001 and was appointed superintendent in Northville in 2004.

The Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville districts recently merged.