Editor, Townsman:

I am writing in support of Andover Youth Services Director Bill Fahey and in rebuke of how town leadership has handled his dismissal.

Town Manager Andrew Flanagan has failed to release any details about the “misconduct” Fahey was fired for, citing confidentiality and privacy.

But by refusing to release even the most basic, general details about Fahey’s supposed misconduct, Flanagan is failing at his job as a public servant. Maybe he could take some lessons from Fahey.

Fahey has dedicated 27 years of his life to the youth of Andover. He’s a leader who challenges convention, speaks truth to power, and is relentless in his fight for this town’s young people.

Andover Youth Services and the Cormier Youth Center may seem like a simple space for recreation — a place to play matball, cook or make art. But it is so much more than that.

AYS offers a place of belonging, connection and beloved community for young people who find themselves in an increasingly cruel and unpredictable world. Fahey has cultivated an environment at AYS which allows kids to show up and be themselves, whomever that may be.

My personal involvement with AYS framed my youth; it provided me with a space to express, explore and grow into my own. My experience is only one of thousands.

AYS is an innovative organization which challenges convention, making it a target. Without a clear explanation about Fahey’s firing, the public will draw various conclusions — including that this was a final attempt by the town manager to get rid of Fahey and turn AYS into a “profit-generating asset” for the town.

But AYS isn't about profits, it's about young people. AYS may not fit into Flanagan’s corporate expectations, nor should it. That's what makes it so special.

Out of respect for Fahey and the public, the town manager must release more information about the circumstances of his firing.

Until then the AYS community will be here. We don't give up, we show up, because we’ve learned from the best.

Savannah Gillis

Andover

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