South suburban Dolton can’t afford government mismanagement

In any community, it takes sustained effort by municipal government to deliver good services at a reasonable cost. If that’s not happening, residents soon find they are paying more for less.

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Mayor Tiffany A. Henyard

Village of Dolton

Good government is central to helping communities prosper. Unfortunately, that message doesn’t appear to be getting through right now in south suburban Dolton.

Since Tiffany Henyard was elected last April as mayor of the village of about 23,000, critics cite numerous complaints. They say the mayor has kept the village board from meeting, has used the village clerk’s stamp to pay bills without the board’s knowledge and has refused to show the board warrants that show what bills the village has paid.

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They also said her administration hired — without village board approval — a code enforcement officer with a serious felony record: He spent 24 years in prison for, along with three others, kidnapping and sexually assaulting two girls, ages 13 and 14. The job allows him to enter Dolton homes and businesses.

Moreover, after longtime Thornton Township Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli died in January, Henyard took on the $250,000-a-year job of supervisor as well as mayor, which critics say is a conflict of interest. And they say former Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown hired more than 20 people for jobs not in the budget after Henyard hired her last May for a temporary job as village administrator. Brown resigned from the office earlier this year.

The standoff has led to Henyard holding her own competing “town hall” at the same time most village board members and the village clerk hold board meetings. The Daily Southtown has described the situation as a “near-total breakdown of municipal government.”

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Last Monday, the village board approved the filing of four lawsuits against Henyard. They allege improper spending and challenge her eligibility to serve as both mayor and township supervisor.

In any community, it takes sustained effort by municipal government to deliver good services at a reasonable cost. If that’s not happening, residents soon find they are paying more for less.

It’s a theme that’s common in too many south suburban governmental units, such as the South Suburban Mosquito Abatement District and the city of Harvey.

A measure to recall Henyard is on the ballot in the June 28 primary election. Residents should educate themselves on what is happening in the village.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

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