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Thornton Township referendum discussion, Supervisor Henyard on ‘fighting against the devil’

Public comment, media presence, and Supervisor’s report were highlights of the March 12 Thornton Township meeting

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (March 14, 2024) – The Thornton Township Board of Trustees meeting on March 12 was accessible to the public and included three public comments, a few approvals made by the board, and comments from Supervisor Tiffany Henyard.

After the door to Thornton Township headquarters was unlocked at 5:50 p.m., the public and media were allowed to access the meeting in the upstairs board room, something they were kept from doing initially at the February 27 meeting, and kept from doing completely at the February 13 meeting.

Six media entities were present at the meeting on Tuesday: WGN-TV, NBC Chicago, FOX 32 Chicago, the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, the Harvey World Herald, and The Lansing Journal.

Public comment

Scheduled to start at 6 p.m., the meeting started at 6:28.

Paul Robertz of Lansing was the first to speak during public comment. He said, in part, “Four months ago, I received a glossy Township Talks magazine in the mail, with the current supervisor’s name and picture on almost every page. The following week I saw her name and face dominating a billboard on the Bishop Ford. That made me wonder, with all these advertising expenses, is the Township going from surplus to deficit?”

Lansing’s Paul Robertz asked if the Township has an advertising budget, and what deficit may currently exist. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

South Holland resident Curtis Watts spoke next, saying, in part, “I’m here to say how disappointed I am in this administration. When I used to work here, we used to win township of the year almost every year. We were the best township in Illinois. Now, outside of this township and outside of this state, we are one of the worst.”

Thornton Township
Curtis Watts of South Holland said Thornton Township is “one of the worst.” (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Michael Smith of Riverdale was the last to speak, specifically addressing the upcoming mental health referendum. He said, “You talk about a property tax hike, your community gives you a property tax hike every year when they vote for a tax levy of 4.99 percent. … We have to support [people with mental issues]. Our county ain’t doing nothing, our state not doing anything. Every since [the] Tinley Park mental institution has closed, we see them walking up and down the street. I can tell you right now, there’s about 10 people walking up and down the street on Halsted, every day out of their minds. And we’re fighting over talking about a tax hike?”

Thornton Township
Michael Smith of Riverdale spoke in favor of the mental health referendum that will appear on March 19 ballots. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Thornton Township approvals and resolutions

Thornton Township Trustees Carmen Carlisle and Darlene Gray-Everett, along with Supervisor Henyard, voted to approve bills for the General Fund, and the General Assistance Fund. Trustee Chris Gonzales voted against the approval, and later told The Lansing Journal he did so because he’d received the full list of bills immediately before the meeting. Trustee Jerry Jones was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

The trustees present voted unanimously to authorize the township’s participation in the 2024 program year of the Community Development Block Grant program.

They also considered a resolution that stated, “Approve Resolution 24-R-002 A License Agreement with Robert Jon Bandyk.”

Trustee Carlisle asked, “Will this be a program for any age range, or will this be a specific age range?”

Supervisor Henyard responded, “This is a program for the guy that works here now, so the foot doctor. He does the seniors. He’s been here for ten years.”

Trustees voted unanimously to approve the motion.

“Fighting against the devil,” mental health referendum, and amazing women “like myself” – Supervisor’s report

During the Supervisor’s report, Henyard told the media present that they should be coming out for events.

“We do a lot of outdoor activities, we do toy giveaways, we do community involvement. I would love to see y’all for the great things, and not just the mess that people tell y’all,” she said.

A Lansing Journal reporter was denied access to a Thornton Township Black History Month program on February 26.

Henyard invited the media and the public to a Women’s History Month event on March 24 from 2 – 5 p.m. at Township headquarters.

“It is celebrating amazing women like myself that are doing an awesome job, that are trailblazers. I want you guys to see it and believe it because guess what? I do represent the youth. I am them. They are me.”

Henyard also invited the public to the upcoming Township Talk on March 22, and Big Bingo on March 21.

She said the Township received $250,000 last year for the “highway commission” through a grant that she secured, adding that $400,000 will be coming this year.

The Supervisor also commented on the mental health referendum that will be on the ballot on March 19, which would, according to township officials, raise taxes to fund mental health services at the township level.

“Right now there’s so much hate in the world,” Henyard said. “I don’t care what y’all say, mental illness is real. … I support the tax — not Thornton Township, me, Tiffany Henyard — I support the tax.”

“The Black and brown community is the one that don’t have it. If you go do your research — stop listening to people and research — all the wealthier communities have passed a 708 [mental health] board,” she said.

Henyard also said she’s consistently fighting against “the devil,” personifying herself as a “good spirit.” She also claimed that former Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli never received the same treatment she’s received as a “Black, single parent.” A video of her comments on this topic is included below:

No closed session, no answered questions

Although a closed session was on the agenda to “discuss the hiring, discipline, performance, compensation and the dismissal of certain personnel, legal counsel, acquisition of real property, matters pending, probable, or imminent litigation,” the board did not enter a closed session. No explanation was provided.

When the meeting was adjourned, television reporters began to approach Henyard with questions. She left the board room immediately without answering.

Reporters from NBC Chicago and WGN-TV talk after Supervisor Tiffany Henyard quickly left the board room, refusing to answer questions. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Thornton Township Board meetings are scheduled for the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 6 p.m. Meetings take place at Thornton Township headquarters, located at 333 E. 162nd Street in South Holland.

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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.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Do you have any update on why The Dolton meeting was not held tonight and nothing was posted as it should be legally?

Comments are closed.

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