Sheboygan mayor Ryan apologizes, refuses to resign

CREATED Jul. 27, 2011 - UPDATED: Jul. 28, 2011

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  • Shelley Walcott reports Video by wtmj.com

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SHEBOYGAN - The mayor of Sheboygan, a self-described alcoholic who admitted to drinking, getting in a fight and passing out in a tavern in Elkhart Lake over the weekend, apologized but says he refuses to step down from his job.

"I have every intention of (surviving the latest challenge,)  It's nothing I'm proud of," said Mayor Bob Ryan
on WTMJ partner station WHBL Radio in Sheboygan.

The Sheboygan City Council will be considering a resolution on Monday asking for Ryan's resignation.

"I do not blame the council for asking for my resignation.  What I did is indefensible.  I'm not proud of it.  I'm an alcoholic."

"I've been successful in spite of it, and I will continue to be successful."

Ryan explained the events of the weekend.

"I consequently went out for dinner on a Friday, began drinking and it began a three-day drinking session.  I'm not proud of it.  That's not me, but that's the alcoholic within me," said Ryan.

"Did I pass out on a bar?  Yes I did.  I'll admit that.  Was I in a scuffle?  Yes.  Did I start it?  No, I did not."

He claims that his job performance has never been affected by his alcoholism.

"Alcohol has never affected the way I do my job.  Alcohol has affected my personal life greatly," said Ryan.

"I have never walked into a city meeting or council meeting under the influence of alcohol."

Ryan also detailed his attempts to cope with his alcoholism and his plans moving forward.

"I work every day on it.  I do go to group meetings.  I have been through treatment.  I do meet with doctors.  I do meet with psychologists.  I will continue to do so.  I am going into an intensive outpatient program which will allow me to work on my issues more readily and still continue on my job.  That will be an evening and weekend group session, and I will still be able to carry on my duties as mayor."

A past YouTube video detailed Ryan making sexual comments about a relative on a cell phone, and he also faces a sexual harassment accusation from a female employee he fired.

The mayor's wife, Mary, told WHBL says she is standing by him.

"I love my husband.  My children love my husband.  We're a family.  It's a disease we face together and that's why I'm sitting next to him."

No one living in Sheboygan has filed a formal complaint against Ryan, which would be a necessary step for the Common Council to be able to remove Ryan from office.

If no one resident launches such a complaint, Common Council members, as taxpayers, stand ready to act.

"We’ll lodge the formal complaint and do the judge and the jury all together," Alderman Scott Varsey told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Cody Holyoke.

"This needs to be taken care of sooner rather than later. And not a slap on the hand, either," he continued.

Residents say it's about time for Ryan to battle his demons in private.

"If [the story is] as it appears on its face, a change needs to be made, because Sheboygan is bigger and better than this story is making us look," said Scott Kautzer of Sheboygan.