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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Dolton Mayor Cancels Special Meeting at Last Minute

Residents ask why Henyard won't face them

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Jim Perez
Journalist for the Southland Journal. Covering Country Club Hills and Chicago Heights.
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Dolton Mayor Cancels Special Meeting at Last Minute (Dolton, IL) – A special meeting of the Dolton City Council was cancelled about 40 minutes before the 5:30p.m. Thursday start. The meeting was called, in part, with the intention of moving the city toward clearer governmental transparency and accountability. It was canceled by Mayor Tiffany Henyard, who was not present among the crowd of about 75 residents waiting for the council chamber doors to open. A heavy police presence sat in the parking lot, monitoring the event. Trustee Tammy Brown said the meeting was called according to council rules, with the agenda and public notice issued 48 hours prior to the start, and the mayor canceled the meeting less than an hour before it started. Cancelling with such short notice caused a big inconvenience on the residents who were at city hall for the meeting, she added.

On the agenda for the canceled meeting was discussion and possible approval of an ordinance hiring legislative counsel to look into council spending and transparency. There is money in the budget for hiring outside counsel to review and ensure city ordinances are being followed, Brown said.

When asked about questions that were raised during the previous council meeting concerning the mayor’s spending since she was sworn in, Brown said Henyard was a trustee for eight years before becoming mayor. She was against things the last mayor did and promised transparency and change.

“Everybody wants change, but not for the wrong reasons. Rules are put in place to be governed by, not to be broken,” Brown said. The trustee said that her property taxes have more than doubled in the time she has lived in the city, and what are residents receiving in return? She said the council wants to make sure that city taxes are being spent wisely. Rising property taxes are hard on residents, especially those on a fixed income.

As residents waited, council members were informed that if they opened the building and
entered council chambers, they would be considered trespassers and would be arrested by city police. It was then decided to hold an impromptu town hall meeting with residents.
Residents spoke during the town hall about the lack of transparency and accountability of city government, and that city and government officials need to be held accountable.
Some questioned why Henyard canceled the meeting abruptly, rather than face them.

Among the speakers were Alonzo Wilson, the father of Alexis Wilson, who was shot and killed by Dolton police during an altercation early July 27 at Baba’s Famous Steak & Lemonade restaurant on Oak and Sibley Boulevard, and the attorney for the family, Rahsaan Gordon.

Both asked for residents’ help in learning the full story behind the shooting.

Dolton Mayor Cancels Special Meeting at Last Minute

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3 COMMENTS

  1. If the Board called the meeting, the Mayor had absolutely no authority to cancel the meeting. If there was a quorum present, they could have held the meeting, in the council chambers, without risk of being arrested or charged with trespass or anything else.

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