Andover Withholds Fahey Investigation Report | Merrimack Valley

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ANDOVER – City officials responded to a public archive request for a report detailing the private investigation into former Director of Youth Services Bill Fahey by handing over a nearly 100% drafted document to the exception of employee handbook and two-page contract.

Since the request for the public document was made by The Eagle-Tribune on May 13, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Flanagan has vowed to release the report, warning that it will be “largely” – not completely – censored.

However, when the newspaper received the 140-page report – for which the city paid Regina Ryan of Discrimination and Harassment Solutions $ 13,425 – all of the text on the investigation itself was blacked out.

This leaves the reason for the investigation, the nature of Fahey’s misconduct, those interviewed by the investigator, and many other questions unanswered.

Fahey was quietly suspended by the city in February while the investigation into his unspecified misconduct was underway.

Prior to the city’s investigation, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office and Massachusetts State Police conducted their own investigation and “determined that the allegations did not reach the level of criminal conduct,” Carrie Kimball said. , spokesperson for the office.

The prosecutor’s investigation was prompted by a complaint filed with the Andover Police Department, she said.

On May 10, Flanagan ended Fahey’s suspension and officially fired him.

In order to receive his copy of the report, Fahey had to sign a nondisclosure agreement, he said in a video posted to social media earlier this month.

Around the same time, he told the newspaper that even after reading the report, “I still don’t know why I was fired.”

In a statement Friday, Flanagan said Fahey’s contract entitles him to receive details of why he was fired – and therefore to read the report. However, he said, “the report also contains extremely personal and private information about others which there is no right to disclose publicly.”

Fahey emptied his office at the Cormier Youth Center with great fanfare on May 13, even inviting the press to a photo op. All along, he maintained that he had done nothing wrong.

Since then, residents have rallied around the 27-year-old town worker, flooding the newspaper with letters to the editor in support of him. They point overwhelmingly to politics, claiming that Flanagan had personal reasons for firing him.

“As many of us know, Andrew (Flanagan) and Bill (Fahey) faced off and it seems like this is just another part of this battle,” said Pete Michelinie, a former Andover resident. who participated in the youth services program. , during a restricted meeting of the board of directors on May 17th.

Michelinie was one of more than two dozen people who voiced their opinions to board members and called for transparency on what exactly happened.

Around Andover, signs saying “we believe in AYS” (Andover Youth Services) and “we believe in Fahey” were posted by his supporters.

Until Thursday, the signs could be seen on private and public property, but those on city land have since been removed.

In explaining why Flanagan wrote in a text: “The city is removing all non-municipal signage from the rights-of-way.

However, other signs, such as the Colleen Ritzer inspire cuteness, have been allowed to stay.

After receiving the blacked out 140-page report in which only the 34-page employee manual and two-page employee contract were not written, The Eagle-Tribune appealed its public document request from the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office.

With the document blacked out, the city clerk signed and sent a letter citing “personal” reasons for not disclosing anything about the investigation.

“This report was prepared on the advice of a lawyer in accordance with two exceptions under state law,” Austin Simko wrote. “I appreciate the public interest in this matter, but I recognize that these two separate exceptions apply to this matter and serve to protect the privacy of those who spoke to the investigator, the integrity of this investigation. and future investigations, as well as employee privacy. “

He also said: “Further, the information in this report easily meets the three-factor test that (1) ‘disclosure would cause personal inconvenience to an individual of normal sensitivity’, that (2) ‘the documents sought contain intimate details of a highly personal nature ”, and that (3) the same information is not available from other public sources. “

Each page of the written report is marked “confidential – subject to a nondisclosure agreement,” referring to the nondisclosure agreement signed by Fahey.

The suspension leading up to his sacking wasn’t the first time Fahey had run into trouble with the city. In 2017, he was suspended for two months for failing to adequately supervise an employee.

At the time, Flanagan said he led the administrative investigation which determined that a former Youth Services employee behaved inappropriately towards two program participants. Although the conduct did not violate criminal law, he said, it was “very inappropriate.”

He said that despite “(Fahey’s) management’s awareness that the conduct had occurred, inadequate action was taken to remedy or prevent it in the future.”

Fahey did not return a request for comment.

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