By Rick Miller
For the past two months, Richard E. Rivers has been serving as the interim executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cattaraugus County.
Rivers, who served for two decades as director of career and technical education at Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES before retiring in 2002, is back in education — temporarily.
He and his wife moved to Florida after Rivers served as interim director of his old BOCES department for a time in 2013. They moved back from Florida two years ago to McKean County, Pa., to be closer to family. Last year, Rivers was elected to the Otto- Eldred School Board.
Rivers heard about the interim executive directors post at Cooperative Extension post through BOCES, where his daughter works. A former Cooperative Extension board member told Rivers’ daughter he might be interested in the post.
“I started March 19,” Rivers said. He’s assisting the Cooperative Extension board members in finding a new executive director.
The contract of Suzann Cushman, who was the first executive director hired after Cattaraugus County restarted its own branch of Cornell Cooperative Extension after many years as a joint venture with the Allegany County Cooperative Extension, was not renewed and she left the post in January.
“I’m getting to know the Extension,” Rivers said. “We’ve got a great board of directors. Cattaraugus County is one of nine counties in the Western Regional Group.” They meet monthly in person or by video conference.
The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cattaraugus County board of directors will meet May 21 to begin the process of interviewing candidates for executive director.
One thing the board is looking for, Rivers said, is the development of new agricultural programming — particularly for county farmers.
The board will also consider the findings of a agricultural support survey initiated to help serve the needs of local farmers.
“We’re developing new programs, working on a budget and I’ll be here to help in the transition,” Rivers said.