Tiffany the Tyrant: Trustees adjourn meeting early after Henyard closes citizens’ live chat relay (Dolton, IL) — The Dolton board of trustees adjourned its Nov. 1 regular meeting early after a virtual chat room was disabled during the live stream, which garnered criticism from the trustees.
Trustees Kiana Belcher, Brittany Norwood, Tammie Brown and Jason House voted in favor of that move after they said they wanted to address legal questions they had about the village’s compliance with the Open Meetings Act. This came after Henyard repeatedly shut down attempts made by Norwood to ask a question about disabling the chat.
Since the beginning of Mayor Tiffany Henyard’s administration, residents could submit their questions for the board on agenda items via a virtual chat room on YouTube. But from now on, Henyard said the new procedure will be for residents to send their questions and concerns to a village email to have them read into the record. Trustee Edward Steave, who voted against the motion to adjourn the meeting, said residents weren’t notified in enough time about the new procedure, noting residents already feel they don’t have a voice.
“You have to communicate better with the board and with the resident,” Steave said. “You just can’t bully your way through this stuff. You still have a board you need to communicate with you and the way you’re doing it is all wrong.”
“I understand you want to disable the comments but you never announced that and no one knows that and they’ve been used to the comments for the last year or two,” added Steave, noting residents reached out to him concerned about the matter.
Henyard responded to Steave by misspelling “communications” when re-stating where citizens are to go to submit public comments. “For the record, again, for the eighteenth time, my comment still stands. Go to ‘communications,’ C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-N-O-S @ vodolton.org.” She continued by accusing the trustees of grandstanding.
Henyard misspelling “communications”
Henyard also said she announced the new procedure at previous board meetings and that she reached out to the board members about the matter but got no responses from them. She also said the move to adjourn the board meeting was a bad one that would come at the cost of taking care of village business.
“You guys have to learn to get out of your feelings because you still have to take care of the business at hand,” said Henyard. “That means the residents suffer because you guys want to be petty if you don’t get your way.”
While Henyard said at the last meeting comments were disabled, Trustees Norwood and Steave disagreed.
“Mayor, we work for the people,” Norwood said. “It’s just letting them have a voice.”
Trustee Belcher asked Village Attorney ShawnTe Raines Welch about the legality of the new procedure.
“I’m not going to give a legal opinion to the board in public,” she said. “I will give a confidential legal opinion analyzing the open meetings act and answering your question.”
Steave said the trustees plan on filing a complaint with the state attorney’s office.
“It was clear that she’s a bully,” he told The Southland Journal in an interview after the meeting. “She disabled the comments and that’s illegal. She didn’t want to answer any questions.”
The meeting is rescheduled for Nov. 5.
Full Meeting Video
Items on the board agenda included:
An ordinance related to Old Village Hall being designated as a historic landmark and applying with the State of Illinois Historic Preservation Division
Ordinance related to authorizing the establishment of a museum
Resolution related to obtaining media equipment
Review of three quotes regarding the mold removal from a Dolton fire station
Promotion of Fire Department Fire Engineer and Fire Lieutenant
Resolution related to obtaining security cameras for village hall
Resolution related to strategies for getting past due water bills paid.
Resolution related to a contract to hire Optima Lab to perform weekly COVID-19 testing
Resolution regarding soliciting requests for proposals for the 2021 Audit
Henyard continued with her mayor’s report and spoke for over 15 more minutes after the meeting’s adjournment. Her report included a diatribe against the trustees who stood against her decision to close the public chat to residents.
Tiffany the Tyrant: Trustees adjourn meeting early after Henyard closes citizens’ live chat relay