Calumet City Clerk Nyota Figgs Still Supports Mayor Thaddeus Jones Despite Being Removed from Job Duties

Clerk Figgs duties removed
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Clerk Figgs duties removed – (Calumet City, Illinois). The recently reelected Calumet City Clerk took to Facebook yesterday to express concerns about the new administration’s decision to remove her from her duties. Mayor Thaddeus Jones recently won the election as the first black Mayor in the history of Calumet City. His right to run and to hold office has been challenged.

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Letter Sent from Mayor Reassigning Clerk’s Employees

In a letter acquired by the Southland Journal, Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones ordered that several duties of the Clerk be reassigned to his City Administrator, Deanne Jaffrey. Those duties included the supervision of several employees that had reported to the City Clerk. According to the letter, those employees will now report directly to the City Administrator who will supervise them on behalf of the Mayor.

Clerk Figgs duties removed
Letter from Mayor Thaddeus Jones of Calumet City date June 7th, 2021 addressed to City Administrator Deanne Jaffrey and Clerk Nyota Figgs

Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones did mention in the letter that the new order does not concern the Deputy Clerk, who will remain supervised by City Clerk Nyota Figgs. 

According to the Calumet City Code, the Mayor does have the authority to appoint, and has general supervision over all employees that aren’t elected or whose supervision are otherwise specified by state statute. However, the Mayor’s appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the council (which usually means council vote) as stated here:

Sec. 2-33. – Appointment of officers

The mayor shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the city council, all officers of the city whose election or appointment is not otherwise provided for. Any vacancies occurring in an appointive office shall be filled in the same manner.

In the letter, the Mayor states that he has the authority to make such changes of who supervises employees that were at the time supervised by the Clerk by citing sec 2-32 which is referenced here:

Sec. 2-32. – Duties.

The mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the city, shall preside over the meetings of the council, and shall perform such duties as may be required of him by statute or ordinance. He shall have supervision over all of the executive officers and employees of the city, and shall have the power and authority to inspect all books and records pertaining to city affairs and kept by any officer or employee of the city at any reasonable time.

https://library.municode.com/il/calumet_city/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=MUCO_CH2AD_ARTIIMA_S2-32DU

Duties Designated by Code Seem to Have Been Improperly Removed

The Mayor, after referencing where his powers derive, claims to be able to make employee changes, then goes on to mention in the letter that he is also assuming control of the animal license program, business licenses, and vehicle stickers. However, the City Code does not seem to give the Mayor the authority to assume those roles, which is apparently spelled out in the code. 

Clerk Figgs duties removed
Nyota Figgs, Clerk of Calumet City

Duties that were taken away from the clerk include the sole administration and responsibility for animal licenses, business licenses, and city vehicle stickers. It is currently unclear if the Mayor has the authority to make such a change without an amendment to the current city ordinance and with council approval. According to the Calumet City code here, https://library.municode.com/il/calumet_city/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=MUCO_CH10AN, animal licenses are applied for to the Clerk. 

Also according to the Calumet City Code, business licenses are the duty of the clerk and the Mayor has the power to have a license ordered and presented to the council for approval before the issuance of a license. The council may overrule the decision of the Mayor as stated below:

“All licenses or permits, except as may otherwise be specifically provided, shall be granted and signed by the mayor and issued by the city clerk. Any application may be ordered by the mayor to be presented to and approved by the city council before issuance of a permit or license, and the city council may overrule the decision of the mayor in reference to any application for license. Forms of licenses and permits shall be prescribed and furnished by the city council.”

The Calumet City Code details business licenses here:

https://library.municode.com/il/calumet_city/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=MUCO_CH54LIPEMIBURE_ARTIIBULI

According to the Calumet City Code, vehicle licenses are the responsibility of the Clerk as seen here:

https://library.municode.com/il/calumet_city/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=MUCO_CH90TRVE_ARTIXREPEPA_S90-601REPEPAST

Probable Issues with Mayor’s Letter

An apparent issue with the last part of the Mayor’s letter is the fact that he gave the powers to calculate uncollected revenues to the City Administrator, which according to the referenced code above, is the power of the City Collector. The Calumet City Code designates all powers of the City Collector to the Clerk unless said code is amended with approval and consent of the City Council. 

The final paragraph of the Mayor’s letter says that he is not changing any of the Clerk’s statutory duties as Clerk or collector, nor any of the duties assigned to the Clerk by City Code. However, the City Code does not seem to allow such changes to be made. 

City Officials Respond

The Southland Journal reached out to Clerk Nyota Figgs who stated:

“I don’t understand why the Mayor is doing this. I’ve supported his administration since day one and I still support him. However, his tactics seem to be bullying tactics and I don’t understand why he is doing this. Nor do I believe he has the legal authority to make these changes. We should all be working together to make our city better. We should not be trying to intimidate each other. I hope we can solve this issue and work together.”

Clerk Figgs duties removed
Newly elected alderwoman Monet S. Wilson supports Clerk Figgs

Newly elected Alderwoman Monet S. Wilson publicly commented on a Facebook post made by Clerk Figgs with this statement in support of the Clerk:

Alderwoman Monet S. Wilson responds on public Facebook post.
Alderwoman Monet S. Wilson responds on public Facebook post.

Mayor Thaddeus Jones did not immediately respond for comment before this article was published. 

Clerk Figgs duties removed

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