Village of Dolton Special Board meeting: 9/27/21 (Dolton, IL) – Dolton trustees, who’ve raised transparency concerns about Mayor Tiffany Henyard, took a step toward passing a resolution to censure her at a Sept. 27 special board meeting.
The resolution to censure the mayor, which will appear on the Oct. 4 regular board meeting agenda, stated the trustees “demand that Mayor Henyard engage in appropriate, non-discriminatory conduct and work to further positive and inclusive relationships in the village and among trustees.’’
It comes on the heels of a host of concerns Trustees Kiana Belcer, Tammie Brown, Jason House, Edward Steave and Brittany Norwood have voiced about Henyard. One of them includes allegations that the mayor directs village staff not to provide them with information, often leaving them little time to research issues they are slated to vote on. They’ve also said the mayor hasn’t been following ordinances as it relates to village spending, an allegation the mayor has denied.
Trustee Brittany Norwood said she agrees with the move to censure the mayor because she thinks “you just don’t want to include us.”
“You tell me you value my opinion but everything only goes according to the mayor’s plan,” she said.
Before discussion of that resolution, the board agreed to place other items of contention on the Oct. 4 agenda, in an effort to address some of their concerns. One of the items calls on Henyard to receive the advice and consent of the board to terminate any employee “whenever the President is of the opinion that the interest of the Village requires termination,” according to the resolution. Trustee House said that resolution came after he and others received calls from village employees who noted they feared retaliation from the Mayor if they didn’t follow certain directives like attending mandatory meetings and “setting up or breaking down meetings.”
Henyard said everything that’s been done related to firing employees has been done “the right way,” seeking opinions from the village attorney to ensure that is the case. Henyard also said trustees “go and only get one side of the story” from potentially disgruntled employees.
“One thing I will say about employees and that’s throughout anything because I have several businesses, if they are upset, mad, or you did something to them everyone’s going to talk negatively about you,” Henyard said. “Now it’s up to you to find out what’s the truth or what really happened or what does the attorney say, is this person lying but none of y’all do that. Once again, y’all come here and y’all do this as a platform instead of calling me whenever you hear something, know something so I can nip it in the bud or I can give y’all a conversation as to what really happened.”
Another item slated for an Oct. 4 vote is one related to the mayor’s security detail. It calls on Henyard to pay all costs related to the Mayor receiving 24-hour security protection by the police department. It also states the village shouldn’t foot the bill for the costs unless there is a state of emergency verified by Police Chief Robert Collins.
Collins said there have been confirmed threats on the mayor’s life and her safety was exacerbated by her home address being exposed to the public due to protests in front of her home. That warranted a security detail, which were also common under previous administrations, he said.
Trustees Belcher and Steave said the resolution wasn’t meant to take away the mayor’s protection but to figure out what the game plan is in terms of how long it will last since it is an expense to the village. Belcher said the detail costs the village $1,000 a day.
Henyard said that item is something that should have been discussed in private since it dealt with the safety of her and her daughter who stays with her.
“Now that I need protection, it’s a shame that my board would fix their mouths and say ‘mayor, I’m not going to protect you,’” she said. “I ask everyone on this body to switch it: if it was your wife, your daughter, your lover, what would you want for them?”
At the end of the meeting, Henyard brought censures of her own against the trustees and Village Clerk Alison Key. Here were the concerns she said she had with each individual:
She alleged she gave permission to a nonprofit to place a garden on land they didn’t own. She also allegedly gave permission to her boss to work on a property without pulling permits.
She said he used village equipment for personal use and never gave it back. He gave it back four months later. She also said he often talks to her in private and “does the opposite of what we discussed.”
She said he “plays the middle.” She also said he doesn’t pay for vendors after he approves them.
Henyard said Brown “blindsides her” by voting similarly to the rest of the board after expressing to Henyard that she doesn’t have any problems with certain agenda items.
Norwood said she always “goes along with the group,” citing how she voted down a resolution about paving alleyways in a previous meeting.
She said Key sent out the board package at 1:46 p.m. today for the meeting. “I know you guys always state you want things in a timely manner but yet you guys are doing the opposite. When the rules are for you, you guys don’t follow it but when the rules are for me yall want me to follow what yall say.” She also said of Key: “you come to work a couple of hours but yet you have a full time assistant, so who’s training who?”
Henyard said the trustees “shoot down anything I’m trying to do all for personal agendas and personal attacks.” She ended her remarks saying “remember the people elected me as mayor and I need you guys to respect that.”
Additionally, Henyard said the meeting was improperly called, calling into question the legal legitimacy of everything the trustees voted on.