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Sanchioni Accepted Responsibility

In a September 29 e-mail, then Youth Center Director James Sanchioni told Paul Mina, president of the United Way of Tri-County, Youth Commission Chairman Paul Seaver and the Board of Selectmen: "I will say had no idea the debt we were in. I will say i [sic] should have. I never had any ill intent. I truly welcome the audit. The only negative that will come out is that we did not have the proper procedures in place. We will now." Later, the e-mail states: "Although the Board (youth commission) has accepted some responsibility i [sic] know it all falls on me. All i [sic] ask is the opportunity to regain your trust and confidence."

Sanchioni resigned the next day, after 25 months in his position.

[Editor's Note: E-mails between and among town officials are considered public records under Massachusetts law, and were made public by the Town of Milford after a request by the Town Crier.]

E-mails Detail United Way's Suspension of Funding

Funding from the United Way of Tri-County has been a key element of the Milford Youth Center's budget since the center opened its doors. The agency has even offered the center an extra $60,000 in the next two fiscal years.

However, in a September 27 e-mail to then Youth Center Director James Sanchioni, agency President Paul Mina noted: "Now that I am aware of the full picture regarding this issue, I am regretfully required to withhold further funding to the Milford Youth Center pending a full financial review by the Town of Milford. It appears there has been an issue with oversight and management from the Town's perspective for some time. Several things have come to my attention late today that require me to take this action."

The "things" that came to Mina's attention were started by a September 27 e-mail from Town Administrator Louis Celozzi inviting Mina to the October 3 Board of Selectmen's meeting. The e-mail began by saying that "as a result of the financial difficulties confronting the Milford Youth Center," the board had invited the Milford Youth Commission to that meeting. Celozzi and Mina had a subsequent phone conversation during which the town administrator outlined the deficit problem to Mina.

In between that e-mail and the phone conversation, Sanchioni sent an email to Mina that stated: "What Lou has asked is that you draft a letter to the Milford Youth Commission stating your financial support. The commission can present it to the Selectmen. In return the Selectman [sic] will support our article for the appropriation next month and in April, at the Annual Town Meeting, we will submitt [sic] a permanent article to receive annual funding for utilities and supplies (soap, toilet paper, paper towels)."

Mina's e-mail to Sanchioni continued from the section cited above to say: "As I told you yesterday, the Youth Commission and The [sic[ Executive Director (you) are ultimately responsible for the full financial oversight of this budget. This was obviously not the case. Jim, it would have been helpful and appropriate if you had disclosed the full story to us yesterday."

On September 28, Celozzi wrote an e-mail to the three selectmen outlining his conversation with Mina the previous day: "Mr. Mina requested an explanation for the meeting and I briefly outlined the concerns and problems facing the Youth Center as well as the efforts to meet the challenges. It was clearly evident that Mr. Mina was unaware of these problems as he reported that Mr. Sanchioni had reported to him that there had been a 'bookkeeping error.' After a lengthy conversation, he expressed his regrets but indicated that if the Town of Milford was seeking an audit, the United Way would follow the next day with one of their own. Further, all agreements with the Youth Commission would be suspended following decisions made by the Town of Milford." Celozzi added that "Mr. Mina's reaction and subsequent action further complicates this issue and that further discussions regarding the Center are warranted."

In an e-mail sent that night, Selectman William Buckley told Sanchioni stating that the director's September 27 e-mail to Mina "intentionally or unintentionally represented that an agreement exists with the Board of Selectmen." Continuing, Buckley noted, "I for one have never attending a meeting where any agreement with you, the Milford Youth Commission, the United Way was discussed relative to town meeting article support. I want to caution you in no uncertain terms to refrain from representing my position or opinions. The members of the Board are independently elected and I for one, am perfectly capable of speaking for myself. Your latest actions in this email and apparent misrepresentations to Mr. Mina have raised further suspicion on my part relative to your judgment and have put the Town and it's [sic] youth in an awkward position with a very valued partner (the United Way)."

[Editor's Note: E-mails between and among town officials are considered public records under Massachusetts law, and were made public by the Town of Milford after a request by the Town Crier.]


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