New Horizons director resigns

SOUTH GLENDALE — The acting executive director at New Horizons Family Center resigned Tuesday, months after founder Maria Rochart unexpectedly stepped down from the position.

Rochart, a major player in the city's nonprofit community, founded New Horizons to provide child-care services for low-income families in 1994.

Angie Gonzalez, a former executive assistant at New Horizons, had taken the helm since Rochart resigned the post in April, a move she said was to avoid any appearance of a conflict with her new role as a Los Angeles County commissioner.

At the time, Rochart said she would continue to guide the center's development as a paid consultant and lauded Gonzalez's appointment.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gonzalez issued a statement announcing her formal resignation, asking people to remove her as a contact for the center "effective immediately."

"I was told I would begin my new contract on April 1, 2010, but still have not received one," she said in the statement. "Therefore, I have never officially taken on the position of executive director."

Members of the New Horizons Board of Directors said they were caught off guard by the announcement.

"That sure caught me by surprise when I got an e-mail from her," said board member Rich Roche.

Rochart, who serves as board president, could not be reached for comment, nor could board Vice President Ruth Charles.

The announcement comes as the organization's long-awaited new child-care facility appears to be experiencing additional delays.

In March, Rochart told city commissioners that construction on the center's "Children's Village Nuestra Casa" would begin in April, but the construction contractor has said his company has not received word about when ground might break.

The two-story project would expand child-care services for low-income families at the center, which has been grappling for years with how to accommodate growing demand and longer wait lists.Meanwhile, the lot in the 1200 block of South Maryland Avenue sits unchanged.

The project, which required the city to grant a slew of zoning variances and environmental permits needed to move the project forward more than two years ago, has received $340,000 in federal block grant and economic stimulus funding.

The majority of the funds have already been spent on pre-development costs for the project, officials said.

Roche said he could not officially speak for the organization, but said the board was evaluating its options for moving the project forward.

"It's tough economic times," he said. "Trying to raise that capital money is tough. We are still trying to move ahead. We are looking at different options on that."

For the record: The organization is called the New Horizons Family Center.

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