Local News, Local News Alliance

Tiffany Henyard on the ‘brainwashed’ decision to vote against mental health referendum

By Josh Bootsma
Lansing Journal

Originally published March 26, 2024

It was standing room only at the Thornton Township Board of Trustees Special Meeting Monday night, as trustees heard comments from the public, approved the agenda for the upcoming annual town hall meeting, voted on a settlement agreement, and heard thoughts from Supervisor Tiffany Henyard on the recent mental health referendum and the previous administration.

Why a special meeting?

The regularly scheduled Board meeting on Tuesday, March 26 was canceled, and moved a day earlier to Monday, March 25.


A township deputy clerk told The Lansing Journal last week that the board was required to approve the agenda for the April 9 annual town hall meeting at least 15 days in advance. The regularly scheduled board meeting would have been only 14 days in advance, hence the reschedule to one day earlier.

Public comment

The meeting began at 6:07 p.m. in the township’s board room, and was accessible to the public. Every seat in the room was occupied as the meeting began.

South Holland resident Curtis Watts was the first to make a public comment. He criticized Supervisor Tiffany Henyard, and praised voters’ choice to again strike down a referendum that would have raised taxes to fund mental health services.

Thornton Township Supervisor presides over the special board meeting on March 25. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

“The residents have spoken, and they’ve said they do not want your plan for a mental health facility, Madam Supervisor. It was voted down last Tuesday, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it.” he said. “Myself and the residents would like to know: what happened to the mental health facility that was at the Riverdale site? … If you’re really concerned with mental health, start with re-staffing the mental health program the township already had.”

Paul Robertz of Lansing also commented, saying he hopes the upcoming April 9 town hall meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions and get answers.

“I hope the upcoming annual meeting will allow the public to ask spontaneous, respectful, yet pointed questions,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the moderator may allow public policy questions such as, ‘Why are FOIA request being blocked?’ or if township credit card statements can be released without a court-ordered subpoena.”

“I look forward to hearing the supervisor and the board making good on their promise of transparency and openness. Give us the truth at the public meeting April 9th instead of making us wait for another podcast,” Robertz continued.

The final commenter was Keith Price, the director of the Thornton Township Food Pantry. He said former Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli’s administration did many of the same things the current administration is being criticized for.

“We sit here and we act like Zuccarelli didn’t put pictures on hand sanitizers when COVID started. But these are the things y’all complain about,” Price said.

“There’s so much more to this than just somebody running around, spending all types of money. There’s answers that’s coming on the podcast. She’ll start telling her story. But it saddens me that nothing has changed in all these years since Malcolm X talked about the ballot or the bullet. Nothing has changed. We have Black people attacking Black people when they won’t say a thing to a Caucasian when they are in the spot,” he said.

Bills and annual meeting agenda approval

As has become the norm, Trustee Chris Gonzales was the sole dissenting vote when it came to approving the bills of the General Fund and General Assistance Fund. Trustee Jerry Jones was absent from the meeting, while trustees Carmen Carlisle and Darlene Gray-Everett voted to approve.

“Having just received them, no,” said Gonzalez when the role was called on the motion to approve the bills.

Trustees unanimously approved the agenda for the April 9 annual town hall meeting, which will take place at 6 p.m. at Thornton Township Hall, 333 E 162nd Street in South Holland. The agenda is included below, and can be viewed full-screen by clicking on the image:

Accusing Frank Zuccarelli, ‘White is right,’ and thoughts on the referendum vote – Tiffany Henyard comments

During the supervisor’s report, Henyard critiqued the administration of Supervisor Frank Zuccarelli, who died in January of 2022.

“In the previous administration, a lot times people didn’t say anything as it related to what was going on here at the township. But the minute I took over — of course I’m Black, young, and female — everybody wanted to attack.” she said.

Henyard also commented on Thornton Township residents’ decisive vote against a mental health referendum that would have raised taxes to fund mental health services.

Henyard also said the township’s Big Bingo event was “dope,” adding that over 500 people came out for the event and won TVs, air fryers, washer and dryers, and other items. Henyard also praised a women’s history event on Sunday, and critiqued the media for not attending.

Supervisor Henyard said a Township Talks and an Easter egg hunt event are upcoming.

‘Concern,’ ‘Unprofessional,’ and ‘no more money’ — Residents in their own words

Monday was Shana Battle’s first Thornton Township meeting. The Riverdale resident said her main concern is transparency.

“I just want to see and know what’s going on,” she said. “It’s all things I’ve already heard before. I came here for some new information but none of this was new for me.”

Randy and Beth Faulkes are Dolton residents, and often attend Dolton Board meetings. When the township meeting was moved to Monday instead of Tuesday, they were able to attend.

“I saw her for eight years as a trustee,” Randy Faulkes said. “Her mannerism is very unprofessional, and for her to be elected Mayor as well as Supervisor just blows my mind.”

“Just spending our money, that we worked hard for, she doesn’t guard it,” Beth Faulkes said.

A 30-year Dolton resident, who declined to share her name, said she was “extremely happy” that the mental health referendum was voted down.

“I don’t want her to have any more money. No more money that she can mismanage. I don’t trust her,” the woman said.

Lawsuit settlement

After nine minutes in closed session, the board returned and voted to approve a “Settlement agreement for case #2023CH00450.”

Trustee Gonzalez, voted against the settlement.

After the meeting, Gonzalez told The Lansing Journal, “It was a no vote because it was a settlement for litigation that could have — and should have — been avoided.”

Up next: Annual town hall meeting

The next Thornton Township public meeting is the annual town hall meeting, which will include presentations from township leadership about the last year’s operations and financials. The meeting will also include time for Thornton Township residents to make comments or share concerns.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at 333 E 162nd Street in South Holland.

The Lansing Journal’s report on last year’s annual town hall is below:


The Lansing Journal sat down with Thornton Township Trustee Chris Gonzalez to dive deep into his concerns about Supervisor Henyard, as well as why he nominated her to the supervisor position in the first place:

The last Thornton Township Board meeting was held on March 12. Catch up on what happened at that meeting below:

There are many factors that go into reporting on Thornton Township. Journal Publisher Melanie Jongsma and Managing Editor Josh Bootsma discussed them in January:

The Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle is part of the Local News Alliance (LNA), a group of independent news organizations from the South Suburbs, including Harvey, Lansing and Park Forest. One of the ways Alliance members help each other is by sharing coverage of news that is relevant beyond our individual communities. We are grateful to our fellow LNA members — the Lansing Journal, the Harvey World Herald, eNews Park Forest and Southland Investigative Reporting Center — for allowing us to republish this article because of its relevance to Homewood.

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