July 29, 2011 / 3:30 PM / in 6 years

Town asks mayor to quit after bar scuffle

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - The mayor of a Wisconsin town has been asked to step down following a late-night bar room scuffle, but said on Thursday he would not resign despite a unanimous vote by a city council committee.

Bob Ryan, 48, told WHBL-AM radio that he intended to seek outpatient alcohol rehabilitation treatment while continuing to act as mayor of Sheboygan, a city of 50,000 located about an hour north of Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan.

According to a police report, the scuffle occurred early on Monday, when police were summoned by an emergency caller to the Brown Baer tavern in nearby Elkhart Lake, where a man in a blue shirt was said to be causing a disturbance.

When the officer arrived, patrons identified Ryan, who was sitting on the curb wearing a blue shirt, as the man the caller had been complaining about. But because the bar owners said everything was fine and no victim stepped forward, the officer gave Ryan a verbal warning, the police report said.

The Sheboygan Press newspaper posted pictures on its website of a man it identified as Ryan slumped over a table at the bar. It cited witnesses who said Ryan had been drinking and making rude comments to some female bar patrons, leading to the scuffle with another patron.

This is the fourth time in two years that Ryan’s use of alcohol has come under scrutiny.

In September 2009, a widely publicized YouTube video showed the mayor making sexually explicit comments about his sister-in-law while he was at a bar.

The cell phone video was released shortly after Angela Payne, the former city human resources director, accused Ryan in a letter of making drunken advances on her at a Sheboygan tavern.

Ryan admitted a relapse in July 2010, saying he went out drinking with his brother, but a city council resolution asking him to resign at the time was voted down 11-5.

The council committee met in closed session on Wednesday night and voted to unanimously to ask Ryan to resign.

To remove Ryan as mayor, a Sheboygan citizen must bring a certified complaint, and the council must vote to remove him, said Alderman James Bohren, the chairman of the committee that asked Ryan to go.

The council was expected to take up that matter on Monday night, Bohren said.

Writing and reporting by John Rondy; Editing by James Kelleher and Cynthia Johnston

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