Residents vote to recall Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard, but legal action is keeping her in office now

Judith Zeng

DOLTON, Ill. (CBS) — The people of south suburban Dolton voted to kick the mayor out of office – but she is not going anywhere for now.

As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Wednesday night, Mayor Tiffany Henyard was sworn in as Dolton’s mayor just over a year ago. On Tuesday, voters recalled her.

“We listened to the community. They community has asked us, ‘What can we do?'” said Dolton Village Trustee Jason House. “They were uncomfortable with the lack of transparency. They were uncomfortable with the spending.”

House believes the referendum to recall the mayor was necessary and fair.

“We are a democracy,” House said. “The people have spoken, and we really are going to do everything we can to make sure that their voice is heard.”

But the mayor took her fight to court – and won in a lower court. In turn, a ruling from the Illinois Appellate Court – days before the statewide primary election Tuesday – said the recall vote against Henyard could go on.

But the ruling also said those votes could get counted – but not certified.

“What you have here is absolutely a legal rollercoaster,” said CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller.

Miller said despite recall prevailing, it is unclear where the votes stand at this moment.

“They’re asking for time to review it,” Miller said. “They could say after they review it in September – ‘Hey, these votes count – the mayor’s out of office,’ or in the alternative, they could say ‘Hey listen, this wasn’t a valid election – this mayor is staying right where she’s at.'”

Yet Mayor Henyard said in a statement: “I remain confident the Appellate Court will affirm the recall initiative is unconstitutional, but sadly because the vote was allowed to happen, our community is more divided than ever. As we await a final decision from the Appellate Court, I will continue to do the work I am doing now to serve the people of Dolton.”

House added, “I think our community is really, really suffering.”

A Mayor’s office spokesman said many of Henyard’s supporters were confused, and opted not to cast a vote on the recall.

But we are told only 100 people left that section blank on the ballot, while more than 450 votes separated the recall decision.

The appeals could go all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.

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