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Local Voices: Answering Tiffany Henyard’s ‘Referendum Question’

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Submitted by Stephanie Wiedeman

Referendum question
Thornton Township residents received a flyer in the mail explaining the mental health referendum Supervisor Henyard wants to enact. (Photo: Chris Donnelly)

Thornton Township recently mailed a flyer with info about a “mental health referendum” Supervisor Henyard is trying to promote. She is allowed to promote her referendums. Thornton Township can make you aware that they are going to referendum, and they can tell you what they are asking. They just can’t say which way you should vote.

I would like to add some background information to the “Referendum Question,” and I’d like to ask some questions of my own. I hope others are asking these questions too.

Background information

Less than two years ago, the Youth and Family Services Department was fully staffed. Five people were providing counseling services for residents of Thornton Township. Those services were already paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Bridget Cole was paid $80,000/year to provide counseling services. She passed away and was not replaced.

Dr. Jerry Weems was paid $230,000/year as Director of Youth and Family Services and Township Executive Director. He passed away and was not replaced.

Meghan Dudek, Deb Sylvestrak, and Larry Lawrence all provided counseling services and youth programs for our residents. All three were fired and were not replaced, freeing up another $240,000/year.

Questions

If mental health is so important to Supervisor Henyard, why did she eliminate the department that was already providing those services? If mental health is so important, why is she not using the $550,000 that was already in the Youth and Family Services budget to “tackle a wide range of mental health issues”?

Why does she have to force another tax increase on us when:

  1. THE MONEY IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND SHE IS WASTING IT ON ANYTHING BUT MENTAL HEALTH.
  2. Residents already told her we didn’t want this tax increase when we voted the referendum down in 2023.

We don’t trust that this administration will do the right thing with the money. They’ve proved to be very untrustworthy already.

If they can’t manage the millions that have now, why would we vote to give them more?

Examples

Tiffany Henyard can afford to travel twice a month, spending extravagantly on airfare, hotels, and food. These are expenses that WE pay for, not her. Yet she has the gall to tell us that her tax increase will ONLY cost US $21.93 twice a year.

She uses the media team at the Township like her personal production team. Township residents pay those staff overtime for the movies she wants made for her social media and village board meeting presentations. If she would stop misusing government workers, we could afford mental health services without residents having to pay higher taxes.

The amount of money spent on printing and mailing for her self promotion could cover well over half of the mental health services she wants to have at the township.

The list goes on and on. The misuse of existing funds is obvious. Why would we give her more of our money?

My answer

Don’t vote yes for that referendum. Instead, come to the public meetings and ask Supervisor Henyard why she can’t manage the funds she already has in a manner that provides mental health services? Why does she have to put that burden on the backs of people whose average annual income is ONE TENTH of what she is making?

Stephanie Wiedeman, former Thornton Township employee
Current Thornton Township resident

Related

Related

Fox 32 Chicago sent Dane Placko to Thornton Township headquarters the day after the February 13 board meeting. He interviewed Thornton Township residents Stephanie Wiedeman and Paul Robertz as well as Lansing Journal Managing Editor Josh Bootsma:

Local Voices
Local Voiceshttps://thelansingjournal.com/category/lansing-voices/
Local Voices is The Lansing Journal's version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Submissions may be sent to [email protected] with “Voices” in the subject line.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Tiffany Hayward has to go ! Impeach her or do something ! SHE is spending tax money like her own ! She is paid to much to begin with ! I could see it if she were as good as Zucarelli was was , but she is far from it ! Megan Dudek Deb Sylvastrak and Larry Lawerence should have never been let go . All this was to free up money for herself. We already had a good program other than the deaths. she tore apart. I say vote NO! for her referendum and schemes. Tiffany needs to go !!!!!!!!!!! Well article Lansing Journal. She is locking everybody out now it is our turn LOCK HER OUT!!!!! I feel sorry for Dolton and its people ! And for all the Thornton Township people ! What she has done or yrying to do is illegal in slot of respects !

  2. She got control because of mindless, one-party elections. Many times there aren’t any Republicans even running for local offices. Impeach, prosecute and reform party politics. Local parties (such as Lansing’s) encourage community involvement without being under major party boss’ heels — This Thornton/Dalton fiasco is a lesson in how local government is more important to daily life than the federal government. Spend as much time learning about state and local candidates as you do the Presidential candidates.

  3. i agree with voting no and coming to the meeting and question the spending if over a half million dollars should be free up. This not the reason to raises taxes on residents in this climax right now.

  4. I do not even live in Thornton Township I live in Bloom Township but continue to receive numerous 4-5 mailings each time with her face on every stinking page from Tiffany. Know your Thornton Township boundaries woman! You are wasting lots of money South of 186th Steet in Lansing is Bloom Township.

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