Jim Sanchioni, the two-year director of the has resigned from his position, following questions about financial oversight at the town facility.
The resignation, which he submitted Friday, was accepted by the Milford Youth Commission, said its chairman, Paul Seaver.
Sanchioni said he was not asked to leave, but did so willingly, and said he regretted that he did not keep track of the center's budget. A report prepared for Louis Celozzi stated the budget deficit for the center, as of Sept. 14, was $61,271.10.
Sanchioni, as director, was responsible for oversight of youth programs, as well as the finances.
"Ultimately, it's my responsibility," Sanchioni said. "I didn't handle it correctly."
Programs for children and youth at the center will not be affected by the resignation, both Sanchioni and Seaver said on Saturday. The center will be open for its regular hours.
The center's assistant director, — who had been laid off from his position a few weeks ago, after the deficit was revealed — has agreed to come back to help run the program, Seaver said.
A decision on an interim director, to take Sanchioni's place, has not been made, Seaver said.
Seaver emphasized that the program has grown tremendously under Sanchioni's leadership, and said the resignation was unfortunate. The youth commission board held a meeting Friday night, and accepted the resignation, Seaver said. Members of the commission are appointed by Milford Selectmen, but the commission itself has authority over the center director.
"Jimmy Sanchioni has done an incredible job with the youth center, and with all the kids," Seaver said. "The kids love him. I think he just didn't pay enough attention to the finances."
The primary funding for the Milford Youth Center comes not from the town, but the United Way of Tri-County, which contributed $62,945 to the center in fiscal 2010. By fiscal 2011, which ended June 30, the United Way contributed just $27,999, according to a Youth Center document.
That, and other reductions in contributions, contributed to an unexpected shortfall in revenue for the center's budget.
In a report to selectmen, which is expected to be discussed in greater detail Monday, Celozzi said the center closed out the fiscal year, as he learned on July 27, with a deficit of $48,363.61.
At that time, the town administrator spoke with town finance officials and Youth Center officials, including Seaver and Sanchioni.
"During the discussions, it was reported that revenue sources had been reduced and adjustments had not been made, as of yet, to reduce expenditures," Celozzi wrote.
By Aug. 31, the deficit had grown to $55,021.59. And by Sept. 14, the deficit was $61,271.10, he wrote.
Sanchioni said if he could do anything differently now: "I would have made sure I was up to date on where our budget was."
The town of Milford covers the center director's salary, as a line item, but does not otherwise support the facility, including its programs or building needs. Sanchioni was paid $44,559 in 2010, according to the annual town report.
The center, for free, after-school programs for about 160 children a day.
Its membership has grown over the past two years from 200 to about 800.