ANDOVER — The Essex County District Attorney's Office and Massachusetts State Police investigated allegations against former Andover Youth Services Director Bill Fahey prior to his firing by the town, but found no criminal conduct.
"Allegations regarding Mr. Fahey were referred to this office by Andover Police," wrote Carrie Kimball, spokesperson for the Essex County District's Attorney's Office, in a statement Tuesday. "We conducted an investigation with the Massachusetts State Police and determined that the allegations did not rise to the level of criminal conduct. The matter was referred to the Town of Andover."
After that referral, the town immediately suspended Fahey on Feb. 5 and began a private investigation. Fahey was on suspension for 12 weeks before he was fired for unspecified misconduct on May 10, according to Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan.
Residents are also questioning town officials as to why Fahey was fired and are rising to support him. Town residents have sent letters to the Select Board and placed signs in their yard declaring their support for Fahey.
Around town, dozens of signs placed in yards read "We believe in AYS" — a reference to Andover Youth Services. Some have altered their signs to say, "We believe in Fahey."
More than two dozen people called in to the Andover Select Board meeting May 17 protesting the decision to fire Fahey. For more than two hours, residents and others called for transparency.
“The reasons behind (Fahey being fired) make it even more heartbreaking," Select Board member Chris Huntress said during the meeting. "As a father and Select Board member I do accept the decision.”
Select Board members Annie Gilbert, Alex Vispoli and Laura Gregory all voiced support for Flanagan's decision.
People called in to the meeting — mostly in defense of Fahey — with some saying his work was "life-saving" for either themselves or their children.
“He gave a voice to people who didn’t feel they had a voice. He made me feel happy at times when I didn’t feel so happy, and I appreciate him,” said Abraham Mansunzu, a former AYS participant.
Many people also voiced concern during the meeting that Fahey was fired because of town politics.
“There’s a perceived credibility gap between the town and its constituents. And the perception is that somehow it’s become personal between the town and Mr. Fahey," said David Tanklefsky, a former AYS participant.