Community support coordinator resigns amid adversity   

Andover Community Support Coordinator Sobhan Namvar stands in the Community Support Services Drop-In Center in Old Town Hall. He has resigned from his position. RYAN HUTTON/ Staff photo

ANDOVER — An Andover official has resigned after experiencing racist remarks and threats against his family in recent months, he said in his resignation letter.

Sobhan “Soap” Namvar, the former community support coordinator for the Police Department, resigned from his position Aug. 5.

In his resignation letter to Town Manager Andrew Flanagan and police Chief Patrick Keefe, Namvar cited “personal attacks on my culture and religion,” and a “wish to shield myself and my family from further slander.”

This was not his first resignation because of such remarks.

Last year he stepped down as head of the town’s DIVERSE Division, a group designed to enhance diversity and inclusion in town, because of similar conduct, he said. 

“If I am not the right person then great, let me not continue to be part of the problem, be in an argument, and fight with people justifying why I need to be in this role,” he said at the time, carrying the same sentiment in his most recent resignation letter.

Namvar — who was a mandated reporter of abuse as a licensed social worker — received and reported an accusation of abuse from a 26-year-old woman against former former Youth Services Director Bill Fahey. Namvar’s observations were also heavily cited in a report documenting an investigation into Fahey’s broader conduct. The town fired Fahey on May 10.

“Regardless of who the employee was, and what roll (sic.) he held in the community, and the possible backlash that this young woman and I would receive, I moved forward with reporting this to the appropriate authorities,” Namvar wrote in his letter. “This report, along with other findings, resulted in the removal of this employee. Just as assumed, this prominent employee went on a brigade of attacks and utilized the same people to misrepresent me, and unfortunately this young woman.”

Flanagan and Keefe both said they were saddened by the resignation, but agreed Namvar must do whatever he feels is necessary.

“Soap is a huge loss to the organization and community. During his time here, Soap referred more people to resources than any other town and city in the state besides Boston. He’ll be hard to replace,” Flanagan said.

Keefe added that the Police Department will support the next person to step into the position.

Now, Andover officials are again working to hire a director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — the position Namvar resigned from last year. The Police Department planned to post the community support coordinator position after Labor Day, Keefe said.

 

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