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Illinois Mayor Faces Backlash Over Controversial Salary Tactic

But if she loses her campaign, the normally six-figure salary drops to just $25,000.

Tiffany Henyard, the mayor of Dolton, Illinois, is being called out by local lawmakers for proposing a salary cut—which passed—so people won’t run against her.

The move cuts close to 90% of her salary—as long as she isn’t still in the position. Henyard, who also serves as the Thornton Township Supervisor, still receives her $224,000 salary for that post. But if she loses her campaign, the new mayor’s salary would drop to just $25,000 a year.

Thornton Township Trustee Chris Gonzalez, who voted against it, said this plan is nothing more than a political scare tactic. The seven-page ordinance was passed out during a meeting in early December 2023. With limited time to review, members were required to give an immediate vote.

“It discourages people from running is the first thing that comes to mind,” he said. Other local leaders are even questioning if its legal or not.

Under the concept of equal protection of the law, salaries of elected officials must be identity-blind, meaning they can’t change based on who holds the position.

“It may be the worst attempt to try to dissuade people from running that I’ve ever seen,” said municipal attorney Burt Odelson said. “And that’s a long time.” The legislation will also lower the salaries of other election positions depending on if someone new fills in.

Chicago-based media outlets launched an investigation into some of the questionable spending the mayor and other village officials made during their tenure. Credit card statements show officials spent more than $24,000 at restaurants in a 12-month span. Other charges like Hulu streaming services and hotel stays at establishments found less than 20 miles away from Dolton raised eyebrows.

“We still have areas that need trees cut, streets paved, alleys paved and sidewalks fixed,” Dolton Trustee Tammie Brown said. “It’s a lot that’s going on.”

Henyard has been supervisor since 2022 after former supervisor, Frank Zuccarelli, died. She is described as “charismatic,” bringing fun changes to meetings like having a DJ playing to help her make a point. But controversy has overshadowed the changes.

A recent report showed her spending taxpayer dollars for self-promoting billboards and using public employees and vehicles for personal charity promotion. She also took police off the streets to serve as security detail, resulting in thousands of hours of overtime.

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