Mayor Henyard loses confidence of board, citizens at latest board meeting

Village of Dolton
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Mayor Henyard loses confidence of board, citizens at latest board meeting (Dolton, IL) – The August 2, 2021 Village of Dolton board meeting was contentious at best, with board members and citizens questioning Mayor Henyard’s spending practices over the last three months. The meeting was held via Zoom, with residents viewing on a YouTube livestream.

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Among the items on the agenda for the meeting was the approval of Corporate Bills. When the agenda item came to a vote, Trustee Kiana Belcher motioned to approve the corporate bills, excluding four line-items related to special events.

Trustee Belcher stated that Mayor Henyard went over the allotted and approved fireworks show budget by $3,000, and did so without board approval. Furthermore, Belcher also raised concern with the total amount spent by Henyard since taking office, citing a report she received from the village that listed over $30,000 in expenditures for special events by the Mayor. “The spending for these events have become ridiculous,” exclaimed Belcher. “So I feel, as a resident, that this show…did not come in consent…so I am asking to remove those items until we can do something about your spending.” She said that these concerns are shared across several board members.

Mayor Henyard lashed back at Trustee Belcher and the board, stating, “I always encourage each trustee, y’all know my phone number, you can call and ask questions about anything you have a problem with on this agenda. You do not.” She maintained that she did not spend anything beyond what was approved and denied spending over $30,000 on special events over the last three months. According to Belcher and the report she flashed at the camera, Henyard spent $30,881.80.

In addition to the money owed to Mad Bombers, an Indiana fireworks company, there were outstanding invoices for media services, concrete barricades, and signs to advertise the show, that were left out of corporate bill payments. Mayor Henyard stated that she did not know how much was spent on the barricades and signs, and that her staff was responsible for ordering those items. “No, I did not know how much the doggone fireworks signs costed [sic].”

Trustee Belcher said that Mayor Henyard spending the money unknowingly made her “even more uncomfortable with the spending.”

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Mayor Henyard responded by saying, “We have to pay the vendors, regardless. So if y’all want to hold them up, go ahead.” She also said that they were awaiting a $5,000 donation for the fireworks show by School District 148, which was supposed to help offset the cost. Trustee Steave chimed in, agreeing with Trustee Belcher, and stating that there is a $1,500 limit on expenditures without board approval, and that there has been concern among the board regarding the apparently frivolous spending. “I’m not here to go back and forth,” Henyard responded. She also stated to Belcher, “Instead of grandstanding, you can call my phone.” She also brought up the fact that Belcher ran with Henyard on her ticket, then effectively shut Trustee Belcher up by stating she was out of order, then asking the clerk to call the roll for a vote.

The live chat was also in a frenzy during the heated exchange regarding Henyard’s spending, with several members of the community jumping to the defense of the trustees. “Why is the Mayor blaming the trustees for her not following the rules. She has to follow ordinance,” said one participant. Another took to the comments to say, “​Remember Neighbors, the Legislature (the Trustees) approves spending. The Executive branch (the Mayor) releases and spends the dollars.” One participant added, “The Mayor is the only one that comes across argumentative on here every time the Board questions her!!!!”

The full board meeting can be found here:

Video of the discussing regarding the special events spending can be found here:

Mayor Henyard loses confidence of board, citizens at latest board meeting

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