Dolton trustee term lim­its on track

Ref­er­en­dums to elim­i­nate pri­mary, cut trustees trail

Daily Southtown - - FRONT PAGE - By Zak Koeske

Vot­ers in Dolton on Tues­day sup­ported a con­tro­ver­sial mayor-backed ref­er­en­dum to im­pose term lim­its on trustees, ac­cord­ing to unof­fi­cial re­sults.

The bal­lot mea­sure, which re­ceived more than 64 per­cent of the vote in Dolton, pre­vents trustees — but not the mayor or clerk — from serv­ing more than two con­sec­u­tive terms.

It was the only ref­er­en­dum of three Mayor Ri­ley Rogers placed on the Novem­ber bal­lot that ap­pears to have won clear voter sup­port.

The other two bal­lot ini­tia­tives that Rogers spon­sored, which would have elim­i­nated the vil­lage’s pri­mary elec­tion and re­duced the num­ber of trustees from six to four, trailed by small mar­gins Wed­nes­day, with mailed bal­lots and pro­vi­sion­als yet to be counted.

Rogers, who did not re­turn a re­quest for com­ment Wed­nes­day, said pre­vi­ously that he’d put forth the three bal­lot mea­sures in an ef­fort to save the vil­lage money and usher in a board more sup­port­ive of his agenda.

If Tues­day’s re­sults are ul­ti­mately cer­ti­fied, only Trustee Tif­fany Hen­yard will im­me­di­ately be term lim­ited from run­ning for re-elec­tion.

Hen­yard, who won a se­cond term last year and would have been forced to run again in Fe­bru­ary had the mayor’s trustee re­duc­tion ref­er­en­dum passed, said she was pleased that it ap­peared her seat was safe un­til 2021, when her se­cond term ends.

“I’m just happy the res­i­dents came out and voted and they didn’t let the mayor take their voice,” said Hen­yard, who had un­suc­cess­fully chal­lenged Rogers’ ef­forts to get his mea­sures on the bal­lot.

Hen­yard said pre­vi­ously that she was ea­ger to chal­lenge the mayor in 2021, if she were term lim­ited from run­ning as a trustee, but backed off that com­ment Wed­nes­day.

“Right now, I just want to fin­ish out my term,” she said. “That was my main goal, just fin­ish what I was elected to do. I haven’t got my mind set on run­ning (for mayor in 2021).”

Hen­yard, who has voted with the mayor on var­i­ous is­sues in re­cent months, said she didn’t think his sup­port for bal­lot ini­tia­tives that aimed to weaken the power of trustees had cre­ated a rift be­tween them.

She did, how­ever, say she took is­sue with the fact that the mayor’s term limit ref­er­en­dum ap­plied only to trustees and not to the mayor or clerk.

“If you’re go­ing to sell it

to the peo­ple that it's good for them, it should be good for you,” she said. “It should have went across the board.”

Rogers has said pre­vi­ously that he would not stand in the way of oth­ers who wished to pro­pose a ref­er­en­dum that would place term lim­its on the mayor or clerk.

Nei­ther Hen­yard nor Trustee Va­le­ria Stubbs, a fre­quent critic of the mayor, said they were con­sid­er­ing gath­er­ing sig­na­tures to get such a mea­sure on the bal­lot next elec­tion.

Stubbs, who is up for re-elec­tion next year, said she was pleased with Tues­day's unof­fi­cial ref­er­en­dum re­sults, even if they meant she could not serve as a trustee past 2023.

She said she didn't be­lieve vot­ers' ap­par­ent sup­port for trustee term lim­its was a re­pu­di­a­tion of her and her board col­leagues, but rather rep­re­sented a sign that vot­ers gen­er­ally fa­vor checks on govern­ment of­fi­cials at all lev­els.

“I think that (vot­ers) have been look­ing at (Illi­nois House Speaker Michael) Madi­gan and the things that have been go­ing on in Spring­field, that peo­ple have been hold­ing those seats for­ever,” she said. “I think that's why they (sup­ported term lim­its in Dolton).”

Rogers

TED SLOWIK/DAILY SOUTH­TOWN

Dolton Trustee Tif­fany Hen­yard, cen­ter, leads a group of vil­lage of­fi­cials and sup­port­ers Nov. 1 out­side Dolton Vil­lage Hall . They urged Dolton vot­ers to vote “no” on three ref­er­en­dum ques­tions Nov. 6.

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