Town refusing to comment on whereabouts of Youth Services director

Bill Fahey

Bill Fahey, the long-time executive director of Andover Youth Services, has been absent from his job for the past several weeks and nobody at town hall or at the teen center is saying why.

Repeated attempts by the Townsman to contact Fahey have failed. He hasn't returned text messages or phone calls.

Town officials, meanwhile, remain mum on what's happened to the popular youth leader who was instrumental in seeing through the construction of the Cormier Youth Center.

Joseph Connelly, director of Community Services and Fahey's supervisor, would say only that things are going along as normal at the teen center, despite Fahey's absence.

“What I can tell you is that the assistant director, Glenn Wilson, has been running programming," Connelly said in August. "In regard to anything with Bill, no comment. But as far as summer staff, they are full staffed. They have their assistant director, their program coordinator, their outreach coordinator. The programs that we have are continuing on, fully covered by ample amounts of staff."

Wilson, who has been working with Fahey since 1994, deferred all questions to Connelly.

Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said he couldn't comment on Fahey's whereabouts, either.

"It's essentially a town policy that we don't comment on personnel matters," Flanagan said.

Town policy may conflict with state law.

According to the Secretary of State's Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, personnel matters can be exempted from the public records law under certain circumstances, "related solely to internal personnel rules and practices of the government unit, provided however, that such records shall be withheld only to the extent that proper performance of necessary governmental functions requires such withholding."

Further, the guide says: "The custodian’s classification of materials as 'personnel information' is not conclusive. Instead, the nature or character of the documents, as opposed to the documents’ label, is crucial to the analysis."

The Townsman has placed a Freedom of Information request to the town manager seeking information regarding Fahey's status.

Diane Castagliola, chairwoman of the Andover Youth Foundation, the fund-raising arm of the Cormier Youth Center, also said "no comment" when asked about Fahey.

Selectmen Chairman Paul Salafia said the same thing.

Candace Hall, director of human resources, declined to comment on Fahey's absence. According to Hall, employees are allowed to take personnel leave for a number of reasons, but because it's about personnel, employees aren't supposed to comment.

She suggested several weeks ago that Fahey may be around soon.

But parents and their children outside the entrance to the Cormier Youth Center were either entirely unaware of Fahey's absence or declined to speak with the Andover Townsman when approached. 

On Tuesday, one Youth Center employee was unable to recall if she'd seen Fahey in recent days.

At least one week's absence could be explained by the teen center's web site, which states that the center was on a "semester break" from Aug. 28 through Sept. 6, with no programming and no staff on premises. Programs were up and running again on Sept. 7.

Fahey's salary is listed at $94,100 in the 2018 budget. It is unclear if he is still getting paid, as town officials refused to comment on the situation.

Follow Kelsey Bode on Twitter @Kelsey_Bode.

||||

This Week's Circulars