Dolton trustee, mayor clash at special board meeting

Dolton trustee, mayor clash at special board meeting
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Dolton trustee, mayor clash at special board meeting (Dolton, IL) – Tensions brewed between a Village of Dolton Trustee and its Mayor at an Aug. 30 special board meeting.

Trustee Kiana Belcher and Mayor Tiffany Henyard went head to head over an item approving a lease agreement between Kirby Rehabilitation, Inc. and the village. Henyard said that was one of two items that were placed under a consent agenda after trustees approved them via email on Aug. 25. Due to that approval, Kirby Rehabilitation was authorized to move into the leased building, she said, noting the vote at the meeting was for the benefit of the public.

But Belcher said she still had questions about that item that were never answered. That’s why she reciscended her vote in a follow up email, but she said she got no response. She alleged that Henyard has told her staff not to answer emails from the trustees.

“The issue is we cannot trust you because when we have questions to ask, you are talking about everybody’s questions have been answered,” she told the mayor during the meeting. “When did you answer any questions I sent in my email?”

Henyard argued that she answered questions Belcher and other trustees had about the item, such as whether the building was up to code. She also said Belcher gave the item a green light then rescinded her vote a day later, which isn’t fair to Kirby Rehabilitation.

“We cannot play games like that,” Henyard said, as she addressed Belcher and the trustees. “When you guys vote for something we give people our word and we tell them we’re going to move forward.”

As Henyard attempted to call the roll, Belcher responded by saying “that’s rude.”

“The issue is you have to respect people, you’re rude and if we had an attorney that would actually respond to us we wouldn’t be where we are right now,” Belcher said.

Henyard said she “wouldn’t stoop to Trustees Belcher’s level,” and proceeded to call the roll. She also urged trustees to stick to the agenda items. Trustee Andrew Holmes moved to pass the lease agreement because he thought “we should move forward in getting the revenue.” That motion died after a second motion wasn’t made by any other trustee.

Belcher told the Southland Journal after the meeting that a lack of response from village staff about questions trustees have “makes it difficult for us to vote on stuff without the proper information.”

During the tail end of the meeting, Henyard looked for approval to appoint new members to the Police and Fire Commission, but the only trustee who made a motion was Holmes. A motion for Henyard’s appointments of new Zoning Board members never came.

Belcher said she didn’t vote because “the people that are being put in place are (the mayor’s) friends, puppets, whatever you want to call them.”

“We don’t need a village run by friends and family. We need a village run by people who are of integrity that will get stuff done,” she added.

The heated exchange between Belcher and Henyard came a week after most of the trustees didn’t show up for an Aug. 23 special boarding meeting called by Henyard. That happened after Henyard cancelled a special meeting on short notice on Aug. 13, the Southland Journal reported. As trustees stood outside village hall, they said they were told they’d be arrested and considered trespassers if they tried to enter.

Henyard did not respond to requests for comment.

Dolton trustee, mayor clash at special board meeting


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