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Thornton Township Board appoints three new FOIA officers, approves personnel changes

By Josh Bootsma

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (May 2, 2022) – The April 26 Thornton Township meeting included the appointment of three new FOIA officers for Thornton Township as well as a variety of personnel changes.

FOIA officers

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives citizens the right to request and receive documents from public bodies. Each public body assigns staff to respond to FOIA requests in a timely manner.

At Thornton Township, Clerk Loretta Wells serves as FOIA officer along with two other staff members, one of whom was recently transferred to another department and the other of whom is on medical leave, according to a former Township employee.

During the April 26 meeting, Supervisor Tiffany Henyard called for a motion to approve three new FOIA officers: Vanessa Marshall, Jocelyn King, and Temika Henyard. According to the former staffer, Temika Henyard is Supervisor Henyard’s cousin.

Henyard did not specify the reason for the additional appointments, which Township Trustees approved unanimously. It is not clear if any of the current FOIA officers have been relieved of FOIA-related duties.

Personnel changes

A slew of staffing approvals came near the end of the April 26 meeting and included the following:

  • Lakeesha Baker was promoted from part-time to full-time.
  • Fareed Washington was hired as a full-time employee to ZAP*. At the urging of Supervisor Henyard, Trustee Joyce Washington abstained from the vote to approve Fareed Washington. Fareed Washington is Trustee Joyce Washington’s grandson.
  • India Blakley resigned from her position as a counselor.
  • Eugene Guyden resigned from his position at the food pantry and ZAP*.
  • Fernon Williams was laid off from his full-time position on the COVID team, which Supervisor Henyard said was abolished.
  • Jacqueline Deboer, Deuane Williams, Charles Klimek, and Lynette Brown were promoted to full-time transportation staff.

*At some point the Zuccarelli Assistance Program (ZAP) was renamed HAP (Henyard Assistance Program), but the existing website URL (http://www.thorntontownship.com/departments/zap/) was not redirected to the new page: http://www.thorntontownship.com/departments/hap/. On March 22, 2023, we removed the old ZAP links from the items above.

Eaglewood Spa

Following up on an item of discussion from the April 12 meeting, the Board of Trustees voted to pay a bill to Eaglewood Resort & Spa for a spa bill totaling around $1,300. Trustees Gonzales, Gray-Everett, and Jones voted to pay the bill while Trustee Washington and Supervisor Henyard voted against. The full story about the Eaglewood Resort and Spa discussion was reported on April 18: Township Board discusses bills and financial questions.

Thornton Township Board of Trustees meetings occur on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Starting in May, the meetings will begin at 6 p.m.


Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.