Valley News Forum for Sept. 14, 2023: More about Jim Vanier and the CCBA

Published: 9/14/2023 6:13:05 AM
Modified: 9/14/2023 6:13:05 AM
CCBA could have handled Jim Vanier situation better

I was shocked when I heard that the CCBA appears to be attempting to push 71-year-old Jim Vanier out the door after all that he has done to support generations of Lebanon kids. When managing people, I have found that when you have an issue with a subordinate’s behavior or job performance, it is better to talk to them directly in order to minimize any room for the sort of misunderstanding or misinterpretation that a written message can convey.

I haven’t lived in Lebanon for over 40 years and therefore have no direct knowledge of the events that led up to the CCBA issuing their letter to Jim, but I would respectfully suggest that the CCBA would be better served by taking a step back and looking at Jim’s contributions with a holistic perspective, not just focusing on what, in retrospect, probably seem like trivial issues as they have been portrayed in Mr. Kenyon’s Aug. 29 article in the Valley News (“Why is the CCBA pushing a longtime fixture aside?”). It must be assumed that a man with over 50 years of loyal service to the organization, a man who has been cited for his many contributions, has earned more consideration and respect than it appears that he has received.

There are always two sides to every story; however the optics of this story, as it has been reported by Mr. Kenyon, tend to make the CCBA look petty and mean-spirited, or at least they do to a guy sitting half a continent away in Omaha, Neb. If the CCBA had embraced the spirit of The Golden Rule in this situation, I doubt that it would be playing itself out in the court of public opinion.

Jeffrey Bird

Omaha, Neb.

Use caution before picking sides in CCBA debate

Many of you in the Upper Valley have become aware of a difference of opinion and position, that I understand took root a year ago, between the administration of CCBA and Jim Vanier. Legal representation, a Valley News article, multiple letters to the editor, online posts, picketing, canceled memberships and T-shirt sales have followed. Name-calling and vitriol, unfortunately, have also commenced and have no place in this.

I understand that the CCBA administration is not intent on firing Jim, nor disbanding the CCB. (The soda-drink machine is, also, not being removed.)

I’m fairly certain there is other untrue, misleading and purposely inflammatory information circulating, not unlike the children’s game of telephone. Before you pick a side, if you need to, or begin recruiting others to your point of view, please try your best to verify the information. There are two sides to every story and we have largely only heard one.

Sadie Woods

West Hartford

member of CCBA

Perspective from a longtime CCBA employee

After 33 years as an employee of the CCBA, it’s hurtful to see the protesting, letter-writing and finger-pointing regarding the situation between Jim Vanier and the CCBA. But we know Mr. Kenyon loves to stir the pot, even without all the ingredients.

We all love Jim Vanier for the many reasons many Lebanon citizens have posted, but once he retained legal counsel, things tend to get less amiable. And yes, the director of the CCBA does have to look at bottom lines to keep both facilities up and running. The Witherell Center is not the evil empire; it’s just a nonprofit trying to make ends meet. Jim does a wonderful job with the CCB kids from 2:30 until 5:30 at the after-school program, but the director is just asking him to help out at the Witherell Center, in any capacity, to fulfill the rest of his 40-hour work week.

How many of you who grew up at the CCB are currently members, or donors, to help the facility keep the lights on and the paychecks coming? I only hope, for the sake of the Upper Valley, that there will be a peaceful outcome.

Denise Holden

West Lebanon

Jim Vanier has huge impact on Lebanon community

I am writing to express my deep concern and disappointment regarding the recent decision made by the CCB (Carter Community Building of Lebanon) regarding Mr. Jim Vanier, a remarkable individual who has served as a role model and mentor to a countless number of kids in the Lebanon community. It is truly disheartening to witness someone who has made such a significant difference in the lives of so many children and is now being what appears to be cast aside without gratitude from those who are making the decision for all he has done.

Mr. Vanier’s contributions to the Lebanon area extend far beyond his involvement with the CCB. Through his unwavering dedication and commitment, he has positively impacted the lives of numerous young individuals, serving as a shining example for them to emulate. His mentoring efforts have played a pivotal role in shaping the future generations of the Lebanon community.

It is my hope that the decision to possibly let go of Mr. Vanier was not driven solely by “monetary” concerns, as it appears. While financial considerations are important, it is crucial to recognize the immense value he has brought to the CCB and the Lebanon area. Instead of targeting individuals like Mr. Vanier, who have selflessly dedicated themselves to the betterment of the Lebanon community, perhaps the CCB should consider reevaluating the compensation of those at the top of the organizational hierarchy.

It is important to remember that, just like a tree, a community thrives when it has strong roots. Mr. Vanier is those roots. By disregarding him and his immense contributions, we risk losing a vital piece of what makes our community vibrant and resilient.

I urge the CCB to reconsider their decision and acknowledge the incredible impact that Mr. Vanier has had on the lives of so many. Let us not forget that investing in our future generations and fostering positive role models is the key to building a prosperous and harmonious community.

A special thanks to Jim for not only how you have impacted so many lives, but for mentoring my son, Al Jr.

Alan J. Patterson Sr.

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Alan Patterson lived in Lebanon for 40 years and was active in city politics.

Vanier kept me out of trouble

As a former resident and graduate of Leb High I was in shock to read about what was going on with CCB. Jim Vanier was one of the people, along with Pat Walsh, turned me from a delinquent to a better person. Pat taught me about chess and Jim ran the nightly basketball games in the gym. Jim made sure everyone — I mean everyone — had a chance to play. They kept me from getting into a lot trouble because we kids and our family knew they had our best interests at heart. I am forever thankful to these two pillars of the community and please do what’s right.

Richard King

Wilmington, N.C.

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