To the editor:

It is not lost on me that the corrosive powers of public suspicion are being wielded at the expense of a beloved community figure. The way in which the news of Bill Fahey’s firing has reached the public reads as a master class on how to discredit a member of society.

We were given few details of an incident, most of which included subjective wording like “misconduct” and “highly improper." The rumor mill was turned on, fed and given time to churn.

The longer the rumors are given to steep, the more the public suspicions fester. It is my belief that Town Manager Andrew Flanagan is aware of this process. He has a history of similar actions -- in his 2017 attempt to remove Fahey from his position, the same eyebrow raising terminology regarding "highly improper contact" was used.

Suggesting questionable morals is a powerful catalyst to this process.

Defamation is defamation, whether it is actively pursued or passively allowed to happen. Fahey has dedicated the past 27 years to bettering the youth of Andover, and we owe him much more than this.

It is pertinent that the Public Records law is carried through, and the report is made public. This can be done and still protect the identity of those involved. It is also pertinent that any words out of Flanagan's mouth are immediately checked, and his ability to create and disseminate public suspicion is stymied.

Governing by manipulation of public sentiment is a disgraceful way to lead. 

Pete Michelinie

South Pomfret, Vermont

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