Mayor/Supervisor Henyard leads first Thornton Township Board meeting

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by Melanie Jongsma

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (March 8, 2022) – At 7:06 p.m. newly-appointed Thornton Township Supervisor Tiffany Henyard — who also serves as mayor of Dolton — called to order the regular meeting of the Thornton Township Board of Trustees. About 50 members of the public had gathered for the occasion.

Newly appointed Supervisor Tiffany Henyard prepares to open her first Thornton Township Board meeting on March 8, 2022. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The Thornton Township Board meeting opened with roll call, the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer by Trustee Jerry Jones, and a public comment by Nate Fields. Supervisor Henyard then addressed the crowd.

“Before we continue, I just want to say, I am honored to be your new Supervisor,” she said. “Thank you guys for supporting me. Thank you all that have always uplifted me. I know I’m young, and I know I have big shoes to fill, but I guarantee I will not let you down.”

Henyard also addressed the board members: “My Board of Trustees and Clerk, I want you guys to know that I appreciate the confidence that you have restored in me to lead such a big path of the late Frank Zuccarelli. So I thank you for your support and your love. Thank you.”

Henyard continued: “I pledge to the residents of Thornton Township, the elected officials, the Board of Trustees, and the entire staff, that we will work hard and have an honest and responsible fiscal year. And I also pledge to remember, I am a public servant. I will always keep the people first. I was [known] as ‘the People’s Trustee,’ now I’m the People’s Mayor, and even now, I am the People’s Supervisor. So thank you again.”

The entire meeting lasted 40 minutes, including a twenty-minute closed session “to discuss the hiring, discipline, performance, compensation and the dismissal of certain personnel, acquisition of real property, matters pending, probable, or imminent litigation.” The outcome of that discussion was disclosed when the Board returned to open session and announced the appointment of Attorney James Vasselli as full-time Counsel for the Township. Vasselli had been assisting Trustee Joyce Washington at the two previous meetings of the Board where appointing a new Supervisor was the main agenda item.

Outgoing Township Attorney Stan Kusper was given the floor, and he reflected on the service he had provided Frank Zuccarelli when Zuccarelli began campaigning for Thornton Township Supervisor in 1993. “It was one heck of a fight,” said Kusper. “It was special, and it lasted until tonight. Tonight is a change of administration, and the Supervisor is very entitled to have her own attorney, and that’s the way it’s going to be. So therefore I’m taking the opportunity and the privilege of submitting my resignation to this township with my heartfelt thanks for 28-29 solid years — great years — of serving the people of the township.”

Appointments of a Communications and Media Advisor and Intergovernmental Liaison were also announced. And Trustee Joyce Washington was recognized for her years of service as a Trustee and for serving as the first African American Deputy Supervisor of Thornton Township during the 60 days following Zuccarelli’s death.

The meeting adjourned at 7:46 p.m.

Thornton Township is located at 333 E. 162nd Street in South Holland, Illinois. More information is available at thorntontownship.com.

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