Calumet City alderman accuses mayor of disabling her email account

Accusations flew and tempers were raised Thursday night between Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones and City Council members.

Second Ward Ald. Monet Wilson sent a message to the news media March 18 accusing Jones of having “disabled” her city email account. Wilson, the only woman on council, restated that belief multiple times Thursday during her opportunity to speak as chair of the Health, Education & Welfare Committee and during her opportunities for personal comment.

“There is no way that I can vote. I do not know what’s going on. I do not have the same resources,” Wilson yelled, explaining she has not been able to read the packets that are sent to aldermen ahead of meetings because her email is disabled. “I am being mentally raped and you all are allowing it.”

She pounded her fist on the table and raised her voice, which broke with tears as she spoke. Wilson then looked at her colleagues and asked them to vote in favor of adjourning the meeting and picking up at a later date when her email is reinstated.

“Alderman, can you finish your discussion please?” Jones asked Wilson.

“You see? Another episode of mental rape,” Wilson said, looking at the crowd.

Wilson defined “mental rape” as a pattern of emotional abuse that she feels has been happening at the hands of the mayor when she complains about an injustice, such as her email being deactivated, and no one helps. The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines “emotional abuse” as “non-physical behaviors that are meant to control, isolate, or frighten you.”

“I am asking you a question, alderman,” said Jones.

“Bullying from his pulpit,” she said to the crowd again. “I am asking my council to consider adjourning this meeting.”

Five minutes later, Jones asked if anyone wanted to initiate a motion to vote on whether to adjourn the meeting. No one made a motion so the meeting continued.

Wilson provided the Daily Southtown with video and photos of what happens when she tries to log into her email. When she enters her email and password, the Microsoft Outlook page reads “Taking you to your organization’s sign in page…” but then kicks her back to the sign in window.

There is no indication that her username or password are incorrect. A screenshot of her account reads “Your account has been locked. Contact your support person to unlock it, then try again.”

Jones, city attorney Patrick Walsh and spokesman Sean Howard have not responded to questions about whether her email account is deactivated.

First Ald. Michael Navarrete also accused the Jones administration of improperly handling the publication of agenda items ahead of City Council meetings. He submitted a recommendation to the Ordinances & Resolutions Committee to create a new system for agenda planning.

“It’s been frustrating to continue to submit committee agendas and to see those committee agendas not get posted; to see those committee agendas get altered,” said Navarrete. “It’s been a frustrating week and a frustrating three years really.”

Jones, who took office three years ago in May and who is also the Democratic state representative for Illinois’s 29th District, thanked him for his comment but did not respond to the accusation.

Beyond the frustrations addressed by Navarrete and Wilson, the meeting included financial and community matters such as placement of additional parking signs, all approved without much debate. Wilson was the only no vote on these items, reiterating her lack of access to her city email account prevents her from making an educated vote.

An ordinance to add an “E-mail Usage Policy” was postponed by members without an explicit reason but did not receive pushback.

At the end of the meeting, more drama occurred after a line item to pay a workers’ compensation claim was passed. Jones then called for votes on items farther down the agenda, prompting Navarrete to question why two line items up for a vote were being skipped.

One was to approve a new design for the Veteran Center.

“We need more information from Sen. Tammy Duckworth,” Jones said.

The second item, a bill from a public finance firm, was removed because of previous questions from an alderman, Jones said.

“Do we have to vote to remove that from the agenda, or no?” asked Navarrete.

Jones responded by again calling for a vote on the items later on the agenda.

“Attorney Walsh, do we have to vote to remove items from the agenda?” Navarrete asked city attorney Patrick Walsh.

“The chair has given his ruling,” Walsh responded, before trailing off in a quiet voice. He did not answer Navarrete’s question of whether an agenda item can be removed without a vote from aldermen.

In the end, Jones won when he asked for a motion to move on to the later items and received a motion to do so.

Calumet City’s city ordinance appears to only discuss postponing an agenda item in one instance.

“All motions to postpone may be amended as to time. If a motion to postpone indefinitely is carried, the principal question shall be declared lost,” reads this portion of city ordinance.

The ability of one City Council member to unilaterally postpone a vote without a motion does not appear on the online version of the city ordinance. After the meeting, Walsh told the paper he stands by the mayor’s decision to postpone the votes without a motion. He said he would send the rule that supports this ability Friday morning, but did not.

The meeting occurred just hours after hours after 6th Ward Ald. James Patton announced his campaign to challenge Jones for mayor in the 2025 municipal election, which triggered a response in which Jones called him an “ineffective and missing Alderman.”

But both men were cordial Thursday evening. Patton and Jones shared laughs over a small procedural error made by Jones. Patton thanked the mayor when he was called on and when he concluded his talking points. The mayor thanked him back.

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