Chaos erupts at Dolton Village Board meeting as angry residents call for mayor to step down

Delayed meeting ends early after street blockaded amid 'credible threats'

ByLiz Nagy and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Chaos erupts at Dolton meeting amid calls for mayor to step down
The Village of Dolton, Illinois held a board meeting on Monday, where angry residents continued to call for Mayor Tiffany Henyard to step down.

DOLTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Ask Dolton residents, and many will say the bi-monthly municipal meetings run by Mayor Tiffany Henyard have become a regularly-scheduled spectacle.

The increasingly irate residents arrived plenty early for the first of the month meeting on Monday, circumventing what they say was a spontaneously blockaded street, guarded by village-paid police officers.

The doors of Dolton Village Hall never did swing wide open to the public.

The meeting was scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Instead, village residents clambered against the double doors, tussling and then navigating a security screening for a highly-coveted seat at a public meeting where items like unpaid bills and payroll were supposed to be topics of discussion.

Thirty minutes after the scheduled start time, at about 7 p.m., the village hall began to let people in one by one, but many were kept out.

Entering at the last moment, Henyard, took her seat on the dais to preside over the board meeting.

"Due to credible threats due to the meeting tonight, if there are any outbursts, if we get another credible threat, the meeting will be closed," said Lewis Lacey with the Dolton Police Department.

Henyard and four of Dolton's trustees, who have asked for a federal investigation into her handling of village affairs, have been at odds for months.

READ MORE: 3 former employees sue Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard for wrongful firing amid corruption accusations

The trustees say Henyard has left vendors unpaid, withheld business permits and stonewalled village leaders and voters for her own personal profit.

"People are frustrated. They want transparency," one speaker said.

The Dolton board already voted to request an investigation into her by federal authorities, but at a meeting in March, Henyard vetoed that request.

"This has to end. Mayor, you have to step down. You have disgraced this village, you really have," another speaker said.

On Monday night, Henyard sat stoically, taking in the ire of some constituents and the praise of a few.

"It is under Mayor Henyard's administration that I have felt the most connected and most valued, said Dolton resident Masha Sanders. "We need to come together and support her."

The punches of protesters who couldn't get in and chants of dissent repeatedly rattled against the glass doors.

But before any actual village business could be discussed, the quorum of village leaders dissolved over disagreements in how the meeting was being run.

"The Open Meetings Act requires we have enough space for everyone," said Trustee Jason House.

Henyard assailed her colleagues.

"Our job is to make sure we take care of business and not allow the business to handle us," Henyard said.

Henyard has denied all accusations of wrongdoing.