Board President Responds

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Last Monday, July 14 the board of directors of the Martha’s Vineyard Boys’ and Girls’ Club decided, after considerable deliberation, to dismiss the employees of our Second Hand Store and close the store temporarily pending reorganization and re-staffing. Since the store is an important fixture on the Island and our action has evoked a storm of discussion, we feel we owe the community some explanation.

We have been advised by our legal counsel that this is primarily an internal matter involving personnel issues that we are obliged to keep confidential. What we can say is that at the heart of the matter was the total unwillingness of our store employees to operate the store as the board believes it should be operated, and their opposition and hostility to the suggested changes which board members recently proposed. Moreover these employees threatened to create a public campaign for their support if we did not leave them alone and let them run the store without regard to the suggestions of the board. The board, composed of a cross section of the community who work diligently for the success of the club, could not accept their attitude. A number of matters have since come to light which reinforces our decision to terminate the store’s staff.

We will reopen as soon as possible with the same basic format. It is our intention to better display the merchandise, make it easier for our contributors to drop off merchandise and make it easier for those who wish to donate furniture to have it picked up. We also intend to make the store cleaner, brighter, better organized and more inviting. Properly run, the second hand store can contribute significantly to the overall financial success of the Boys’ and Girls’ Club. We have every intention of operating the store in the future to best serve the club and the community.

Joe Forte


Unkind and Disrespectful

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Didn’t the board go overboard?

The news of the abrupt firing of employees and volunteers of the Martha’s Vineyard Boys’ and Girls’ Club Second Hand Store is very disturbing. For many years, I have enjoyed shopping and contributing to the store, knowing that the profits go to the boys’ and girls’ club. I have always found the staff welcoming and helpful. It has been particularly wonderful to deal with Penny Townes who has acted as an advocate for the boys’ and girls’ club program and a fine representative of the club to the community. Why would the board choose to use such an unkind and disrespectful procedure to dismiss employees who have devoted so much time and energy to the organization over many years?

In the past for eight years, I volunteered at the boys’ and girls’ club

directing the Magic Fire Children’s Improvisational Theatre (for which the props for our productions were generously supplied by both Island thrift stores). It is therefore even more shocking to think that the board would actually fire volunteers. Now more than ever, we must encourage our community to support our social service programs and not discourage their dedication and contributions.

Lynn Ditchfield


Top Drawer

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The store may be called second hand, but the managers were first class.

Sylvia Metell

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I was appalled and heartsick after reading the article regarding the Second Hand Store in Edgartown.

The firing of Darlene Kelly, Penny Townes and volunteers by the boys and girls club board members, in such an unfeeling and unprofessional way, is beyond my comprehension. I have known these ladies for many, many years, and have always found them to be hard-working, helpful, courteous, and always with the boys and girls club’s best interest at heart.

I am totally baffled as to why this happened the way it did, to such dedicated people. To Darlene, Penny and all volunteers, thank you, thank you, for all your years of hard work, you don’t deserve to be treated this way. God bless you.

Lorraine St. Pierre