Dolton residents vote to recall Mayor Tiffany Henyard

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Dolton
Two competing signs show the divide in Dolton that has been months in the making. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
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Impact of vote still uncertain

By Josh Bootsma

DOLTON, Ill. (June 29, 2022) – Dolton voters have chosen to recall Mayor Tiffany Henyard in a recall referendum on the June 28 ballot, though whether the recall will take effect remains to be seen.

Dolton residents saw two extra questions on their ballots on June 28 regarding the recall, one asking voters if they wanted to establish a recall mechanism for the Village of Dolton, and the second asking them if they wanted to recall Mayor Tiffany Henyard.

Recall numbers

Unofficial election results from the Cook County Clerk’s office show that 1,925 Dolton residents voted to establish a recall mechanism, while 1,488 voted against the referendum. Similarly, 1,929 residents voted to recall Tiffany Henyard as mayor, while 1,513 voted against doing so.

It remains unclear whether Henyard will actually be recalled, as an appellate court has not yet ruled on the legality of both establishing a recall mechanism and applying that mechanism to a sitting mayor in the same election.

“Dolton as a community, we really have a lot of challenges that are ahead of us. My sincere hope is that we take a moment — all parties, the mayor, the board — reflect on the results of the election, look at the will of the people, and everybody try to find what the right course forward is to help Dolton heal,” said Dolton Trustee Jason House, a supporter of the recall initiative.

Legal questions

Henyard, who is also the new Supervisor of Thornton Township, has repeatedly denounced the recall in recent months, calling the pair of questions “unconstitutional” and “unethical.”

According to the Daily Southtown, Henyard filed a lawsuit in April challenging the constitutionality of the referendum questions. Though a judge initially instructed the Cook County Clerk’s office to disregard votes on the recall referenda, an appellate court reversed the decision, instructing the clerk to count the votes. A decision about the legality of the referenda is still pending, however.

Recall reasons

Dolton trustees voted in December to initiate the recall referenda, and did so because of what they perceive to be wrongdoing from the Mayor’s office. In April, Dolton trustees voted to initiate lawsuit proceedings against Henyard for, among other reasons, not following proper channels for hiring and firing employees, violating the Freedom of Information Act policies in the village, and spending village money without board approval.

Just how contentious the relationship between Henyard and Dolton trustees has gotten was made clear at the June 6 Village Board meeting, during which shouting-match arguments often derailed attempts to vote on Village business.

Uncertain future

House said though the impact of the recall referenda is still uncertain, he hopes the majority opinion on Henyard’s mayorship does not fall on deaf ears.

“I’m urging all board members, and I hope the mayor as well, to look at the results, take a step back, and put Dolton first,” he said.

Mayor Henyard’s staff did not reply to a request for comment on this story.

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