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Broome County historian retiring after three decades on the job

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — In 1988 Gerald Smith was first appointed as Broome County historian.

“It’s been fun,” said Smith. “The pay is lousy. It’s not great pay. It’s always part-time pay. It always has been.”

Smith has been the Broome County historian for 31 years and city of Binghamton’s historian for 35 years.

He says the job is about more than getting money.

“I think it’s just meeting the public, helping them, informing them about their own history of their community,” said Smith.

Smith says he’s made lasting memories in the community as a historian.

“It’s the young ones coming in that have no idea about what happened in their community and if we can spark some interest, if I can see some life in the eyes, I’m a happy person,” he explained.

Smith who was born and raised in Broome County. He says for an area that use to be thriving, there’s still hope for its future.

“The way we do business is transforming it and if we can continue that mold that we’ve been going in the last ten years, yeah I see a mini revival happening,” Smith added.

He’s retiring January 24.

“I’ve had some serious health issues over the last few months that I need time to recoup, recover,” said Smith.

Though, he tells 12 News he won’t be going too far.

“I’ll do more from home, let myself recover, a little bit, and have more time to spend with my family,” he said.

He’ll continue to be an adjunct history professor at SUNY Broome and he’ll continue to write books.

“My thanks to the community,” he said. “It’s been a great ride and I’ll miss you all.”

There is currently a search committee looking for someone to fill his shoes.

Esperanza Gutierrez

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