Tag: Trustee Dorris

Maywood Park District Searching for New Executive Director

antonette-dorrisThursday, April 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The Maywood Park District has started the process of looking for a new executive director. A vacancy announcement for the position was released by the Illinois Association of Park Districts, which is facilitating the search.

The district’s current executive director, Maywood Trustee Antonette “Toni” Dorris, said that she’s decided not to seek an extension of her one-year contract, which is set to end in July.

According to park district officials, the district is offering to pay a new executive director between $50,000 and $65,000. According to the IAPD vacancy announcement, “benefits are commensurate with experience and will be negotiated with the Board of Commissioners.”

The deadline for applications is May 5. The board is scheduled to begin interviewing candidates on May 29 and plans to hire someone by early July.

Dorris, who recently ran unsuccessfully for mayor, said that she decided against asking the board to renew her contract because she wants employment that offers medical and other benefits, unlike the executive director position, and due to what she described as “political antics.”

“The majority of my decision was based on [the job’s lack of benefits],” Dorris said during a phone interview on Thursday night. “I’m going to be 50 in August.”

She declined to go into details about the “political antics” she referenced but noted that “prior to me fully announcing [my candidacy for mayor], there was no problem. All the board members had seen what I had done for a year for that park district and as soon as I came out publicly, that’s when thing started.” 

Dorris is a former member of the Maywood United Party, helmed by mayoral candidate Henderson Yarbrough, whose wife is Proviso Township Democratic Committeeman and Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough.

Dorris, whose four-year term as a trustee will end next month, ran for mayor on the Maywood Visionary Party ticket with three candidates for trustee and a candidate for clerk. When Dorris announced, it was widely speculated that she could possibly cut into Yarbrough’s base of support.

Trustee Melvin Lightford, who was running for reelection and is a former Maywood United Party member, was also part of Dorris’s Maywood Visionary Party ticket. Lightford was the only MVP candidate who was elected on April 4.

Yarbrough, who garnered the second-highest number of votes in a four-person race, lost to incumbent mayor Edwenna Perkins by a margin of more than 15 points, with a gap of more than 450 votes separating the two front-runners.

Also speculation — that Dorris’s announcement may have opened her up to retribution from the political powers that be.

Although she declined to talk specifics, Dorris did reference some on-the-job pressure she felt after announcing her run for mayor that she said came primarily from Maywood Park District Board President Arnettra Burnside, who endorsed Yarbrough’s mayoral run. Burnside could not be reached for comment.

During an interview last year, Henderson Yarbrough said that there was no animosity between him and Dorris, who he said only announced her candidacy because she thought that he would not be running this year. He said that, at the time that Dorris announced, he had not announced his plans.

Dorris said that there was no reason for board members to complain about her job performance, which she said most members lauded. Maywood Park District Commissioner Dawn Rone was also a vigorous supporter of Dorris’s mayoral candidacy,

In an open letter written in February, Rone lauded Dorris for creating strategic partnerships with other governing bodies and outside agencies. She also said that the trustee “overhauled the [park district’s] day to day operations, created a website and our first ever mailed newsletter that highlighted our activities and programs.”

Dorris added that, under her leadership, the park district was able to do the due diligence necessary to acquire funding to finally rehabilitate the long-vacant 809 Madison building and to carry out numerous capital projects around the park district’s 9th Avenue campus.

Dorris said that she plans on forming a for-profit entity that will “empower our people here [in Maywood].” She said that, while it won’t be under the auspices of the Maywood Visionary Party, it will embody many of the party’s goals and philosophies.

“We had talked maybe a month before the race ended and we said that win or lose, we can better the community,” she said. “We can implement the kind of things we stood for while we were at the board table.

“This will be the same group of people who came together politically, but it will also be open to the public,” Dorris said. “It’s not about our own selfish desires, it’s about bringing stuff here that our resident that our residents will want to take part in.” VFP

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Four People Make the Final Cut to Run for Maywood Mayor

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Trustee Henderson Yarbrough, Liquor Commissioner Mary “May” Larry, Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Trustee Antonette Dorris are the four mayoral candidates who will appear on the ballot on April 4. | File

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Barring anyone withdrawing his or her candidacy, voters in Maywood will choose from a pool of four candidates vying to run for mayor in the April 4, 2017 municipal elections.

Incumbent Mayor Edwenna Perkins, sitting trustee and former mayor Henderson Yarbrough and sitting trustee Antonette Dorris all survived challenges to their nominating papers and will appear on the ballot. Liquor Commissioner Mary “May” Larry, who is the only mayoral candidate who didn’t face an objection, will also appear on the ballot.

Two other mayoral candidates, Kathy Travis and Quincy Johnson, were removed from the ballot after objections to their candidacies were upheld earlier this month.

During the Jan. 23 local electoral board hearings where the last of the candidate objections were discussed, Attorney Luther Spence and trustee candidate Rolando Villegas were both removed from the ballot.

Ten candidates vying for the three open trustee seats on the village board will appear on the ballot, with three of those four running with parties.

The Maywood United Party includes Yarbrough as its mayoral candidate; sitting trustee Michael Rogers, former trustee Audrey Jaycox and businessman Antonio Sanchez as its three trustee candidates; and former District 209 school board member Readith Esther as the slate’s candidate for clerk.

According to numerous sources close to the candidate, Rogers is likely to withdraw from the race. The candidate himself will not yet confirm or deny the speculation. Candidates are required to formally file withdrawal documents with the village clerk’s office before they can leave the race. The deadline for filing those documents is Jan. 26.

So far, it hasn’t been confirmed whether or not the party has found someone to replace Rogers if he withdraws.

The Maywood Visionary Party includes Dorris as its mayoral candidate; sitting trustee Melvin Lightford, businessman Joseph Wilson and realtor Drena Lanier as its trustee candidates; and Steven R. Smiley as the party’s candidate for clerk.

The My Maywood Party includes Larry as its mayoral candidate; former trustee Marcius Scaggs, library trustee Tanya T. Butler and Sammie B. Rogers as its trustee candidates; and sitting village clerk Viola Mims as its candidate for clerk.

Kimyada Wellington, who is running as an independent, joins Perkins as the only two candidates remaining from the People’s Choice Party — an informal slate of all independent candidates.

The slate’s two other trustee candidates, Villegas and Elijah Goodwin, who withdrew from the race earlier this month, will not appear on the April ballot. The slate’s candidate for clerk withdrew not long after the slate was formally announced last year.

There are no independent candidates running for village clerk. This story will be updated to include candidates for other taxing bodies, such as park district, library district and local school boards. VFP

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Trustee Yarbrough Confident In His Chances at a Third Mayoral Term


Trustee Henderson Yarbrough, the former Maywood mayor, right, shakes hands with Metra executive director and CEO Don Orseno during a Nov. 7 groundbreaking for a new Metra train depot on 5th Ave. in Maywood. | File

Thursday, November 10, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Former mayor and sitting trustee, Henderson Yarbrough, stood with petition sheets in hand outside of Irving Middle School, 805 S. 17th Ave., as voters filed into the school’s gymnasium to vote on Tuesday.

During a brief interview, he defended claims about his two-term tenure made by incumbent Mayor Edwenna Perkins, shared his motivation for running for trustee in 2015 and another mayoral term next year, and expressed confidence in his chances come April, 4, 2017.

“I guess you can say I was encouraged to run by people I trust and have confidence in and people who trust, and have confidence, in me,” said Yarbrough. “It certainly wasn’t my plan, when I was out, to come back and run for trustee. I didn’t intend to come back to run for [mayor], either.”

Yarbrough, who recently retired, didn’t specify who those encouragers were, but noted that they may have been motivated to push him into the race “based on who is running and who is not.”

The former mayor — who served two terms from 2005 until 2013 before he was narrowly defeated by Perkins — heads up the Maywood United Party ticket, the same party he rode into office with over a decade ago.

Former Proviso Township High Schools District 209 board member Readith Esther is the ticker’s candidate for clerk. Maywood businessman Antonio Sanchez, former Maywood Trustee Audrey Jaycox and sitting Maywood Trustee Michael Rogers are the ticket’s trustee candidates. All of those candidates, except for Sanchez, have run on the Maywood United platform before.

While formally announcing her bid for reelection last weekend, Perkins said that, under Yarbrough, the village sustained a pattern of business failure. The sitting mayor made her announcement in front of the shuttered Corbin Colonial Funeral Chapel, 1001 Madison St.

The business’s owner, Randy Corbin, claimed the chapel’s closure in 2009 was, in part, due to the village’s unwillingness to extend tax relief in the form of alley easement rights (which he said could’ve qualified him for TIF incentives). In 2008, he told West Suburban Journal, his second installment property taxes were $110,000.

When asked about Corbin on Tuesday, Yarbrough said that it’s misleading to claim that the chapel closed because of him.

“Mr. Corbin came to see me and we had a conversation and he said his taxes went way up and he wasn’t going to be able to stay in business,” the former mayor said. “I put him in touch with [economic development coordinator] Angela Smith and they had a conversation to see if there was anything for us to do to help him out.”

Yarbrough said that when Corbin first opened the chapel, the businessman “wasn’t really asking for anything in particular, or at least not that I’m aware of.”

“There wasn’t really much I could do about the taxes, because he’s not the only one [with high property taxes],” Yarbrough said. “Most of our businesses are suffering from high taxes and we want to do anything and everything we can to keep business here.”

Yarbrough said that Maywood needs to create an environment that’s more inviting to new businesses.

“We talk a lot about new businesses, but the businesses we have really do need a lot of help with these new taxes,” he said. “Outside of grants and some other state and federal funding, there isn’t much we can do about it, except to try to build more businesses and bring in more businesses.

“In order to do that, we have to get our house in order here, too,” he said. “People have to want to come here for a reason. People located to certain places based on the reputation of the town, so we have to do some stuff in house.”

On Tuesday, Yarbrough had his own criticisms of Perkins, noting that, while she’s been mayor, she hasn’t done anything that he’s aware of.

“I don’t see anything she’s done,” he said. “She hasn’t brought anything or offered anything. If she has, I don’t know what it is.”

During her campaign launch last Saturday, Perkins pointed to a development that failed because of board opposition.

In 2013, at the beginning of Perkins’ term, a developer approached the village looking to build a new facility that would house retail establishments and a Maywood branch of Hinsdale Community Bank.

The developer, InSite Real Estate Investment Properties, said that they would complete the new facility by September 2014, but the board failed to marshal the five-vote supermajority among trustees that was required to vacate an alley near the land targeted for development.

The alley vacation was necessary in order for the project to be completed, Maywood attorney Michael Jurusik said at the time.

Trustees Audrey Jaycox, Rivers and Dorris, who were in support of an offer to purchase Lake St. and 1st Ave. by a different developer, would not vote for the alley vacation, thus effectively shutting down the bank and retail center proposal. Yarbrough wasn’t on the board at the time.

Yarbrough also called out the mayor for what he said is her inability to work with people she considers her adversaries.

“She doesn’t really understand how to reach out to the people on the board, the people who have worked, the people who have to work with her,” he said. “She doesn’t seem to be inclusive. And to me, it doesn’t make sense not to do that. I’m a totally inclusive person. If I think you got something to offer, even if you didn’t run on my ticket, we can work together.”

Since his election to the board in 2015, Yarbrough has voted in the majority with Perkins on numerous key proposals and also presented an important vote that blocked the mayor’s office from being relocated from 125 S. 5th Ave. to 40 Madison St. — a move that Perkins was staunchly against.

“For some reason, I don’t know what it is, she’s never seemed to appreciate anything about me,” Yarbrough said of the current mayor. “And I never, ever disrespected her. Ever.”

Yarbrough also addressed Trustee Antonette Dorris’s bid for mayor. Dorris, who is also the current executive director of the Maywood Park District, served as Yarbrough’s executive assistant for several years before she was elected trustee on the Maywood United Party ticket in 2013. She’s also been a trustee for the Bellwood District 88 school board.

“[Dorris] always said she wanted to run if I didn’t run,” Yarbrough said. “She’s been saying that from the beginning. She also said that, if I do run, she’d want to be on my ticket. But I couldn’t make up my mind. I wasn’t planning on running, really.”

Yarbrough said that, by the time he decided to run, Dorris had already decided to stay in the race. He said there’s no antipathy between them.

Dorris has since formed a ticket of her own, the Maywood Visionary Party, which includes which includes Lightford, businessman Joseph A. Wilson and real estate broker Drena Lanier as trustee candidates. Project manager Steven R. Smiley is the slate’s candidate for clerk.

The sitting clerk, Viola Mims, is running on the My Maywood slate, which comprises mayoral candidate Mary “May” Larry, a village liquor commissioner; and trustee candidates Marcius Scaggs (a former trustee appointed by Yarbrough), Tanya Butler (a sitting Maywood Public Library commissioner) and Sammie Rogers, Jr.

Perkins is supporting a group of independents called the Peoples Choice Party, which includes U.S. military veteran and state employee Kimyada Wellington, businessman and U.S. Air Force veteran Elijah Goodwin and businessman Rolando Villegas. Tamika Commier is the group’s candidate for clerk.

When asked how he thought his chances of victory are this April, Yarbrough expressed confidence.

“I’m very confident,” he said. “It’s not going to be an easy run, though.” VFP

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