Bob Ryan (mayor)

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Bob Ryan
Mayor of Sheboygan, Wisconsin
In office
April 2009 – March 5, 2012
Preceded by Juan Perez
Succeeded by Terry Van Akkeren
Second District Alderperson for Sheboygan Common Council
In office
Personal details
Born Bob Ryan
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Mary Ryan
Children Ashley, Blake, and Abigail
Residence Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Profession Businessman, Politician

Bob Ryan is an American municipal politician and businessman. He served as the mayor of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, a non-partisan office, from 2009 until he lost a recall election in 2012.

Life and career[edit]

Prior to being elected mayor, Ryan served on the city's Common Council for three years as District Two's alderperson, and operated Ryan Oil, which operated BP service stations in the county before the sale of those stations to Quality State Oil in mid-2007.[1][2]

Mayor of Sheboygan[edit]

Ryan and State Representative Terry Van Akkeren challenged incumbent Juan Perez in the 2009 mayoral election. Ryan ran as a critic of Sheboygan's "political environment". After Perez was eliminated in the preliminary election he endorsed Ryan.[3] Ryan defeated Van Akkeren 5,891 to 3,968 in the runoff election.[4]

Ryan started his four-year term in April 2009. He annexed land for a future business center along I-43 near the University of Wisconsin–Sheboygan/Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School campus that was named "Willow Creek Park."[5] Ryan worked with city Development Manager Chad Pelishek to form the Sheboygan Market District to promote regional foods.[5] During his term, PCBs were removed from the lower Sheboygan River.[5] In February 2011, the city annexed 180 further acres of former farmland along its western border with Kohler for development.[6]

Controversy and scandals[edit]

Human resources director firing and sexual harassment lawsuit[edit]

In December, 2009, former City of Sheboygan Human Resources Director Angela Payne filed a complaint with the Equal Rights Division of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development alleging sexual harassment and racial discrimination.[7] She alleged that on July 9, 2009 Ryan attempted to kiss her and made sexual advances.[8] On August 6, Ryan fired Payne[8] for what he called "unsatisfactory services".[9] She had been recently hired by previous mayor Juan Perez and was in her probationary period during which the mayor could fire her without permission of the city council.[10] Ryan said the firing was the result of numerous department heads approaching him, detailing Payne’s shortcomings in a meeting and asking that she be terminated.[10]

An equal rights officer with the Department of Workforce Development who investigated the complaint found Payne's allegations of sexual harassment credible, recommending a formal hearing before an administrative law judge.[11] The investigator dismissed the claim of racial discrimination.[11] A cash settlement in the case was announced in August 2011.[12]

Elkhart Lake incident[edit]

On July 26, 2011, The Sheboygan Press reported that on July 23 Ryan got into a physical altercation in Elkhart Lake with someone who confronted him for drinking.[13] A few days later, Ryan admitted he was getting treatment for alcoholism.[14] Ryan pleaded guilty in February 2013 for groping a woman in a bar.[15] In September 2011, the city Common Council voted to hire two attorneys to remove Ryan from office.[16]

January 2012 recall election[edit]

In August 2011,[17] residents organized a February 2012 recall election,[18] gathering enough petition signatures to force a ballot.[19] Ryan did not appeal the petition and was automatically entered as a candidate in the election against him, with seven other candidates.[20] Ryan received the most votes (33%) in the first round and survived to a runoff against former state representative Terry Van Akkeren (26%).[20] On February 21, 2012, Van Akkeren defeated Ryan (53% to 47%) in the recall election.[21] Ryan left office on March 5, 2012.[22]

March 2013 arrest[edit]

On March 3, 2013 Ryan was arrested for drunk driving near Kiel.[23] While being transported to the Manitowoc County Jail, he commented that he wished the female Manitowoc police officer had arrested him, stating she was "hot" and "smoking".[15] Ryan was charged with an OWI after his blood alcohol level was tested; it was his first citation for drunk driving.[24] He reached a plea agreement of a lesser charge of operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration in July 2013; he received a fine and had his driver's license revoked for eight months.[25]


  1. ^ Petrie, Bob (12 August 2007). "Ryan Oil Company Is Sold". Sheboygan Press. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Sheboygan Mayoral Race profile: Bob Ryan". WFRV. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ Pabst, Georgia (April 8, 2009). "Voters choose alderman over state representative". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 
  4. ^ "Election 2009". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. April 8, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Marklein, Bill. "Sheboygan County Officials Present Development Plans". Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. 
  6. ^ "City of Sheboygan purchases old Schuchardt farm for development and wetland". Plymouth Review. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ Eric Litke. "Former City of Sheboygan HR director Angela Payne alleges discrimination against Mayor Bob Ryan Archived December 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.", Sheboygan Press, December 15, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Bilstad, Erik. "Sheboygan Aldermen Call for Mayor's Resignation". WTMJ-TV. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ Litke, Eric (August 24, 2011). "Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan sexual harassment suit: City, former HR director Angela Payne settle for $310K". Sheboygan Press. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Litke, Eric (September 23, 2009). "Fired HR director Angela Payne: Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan made sexual advances". Sheboygan Press. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Eric Litke. "State: Sexual harassment claim by former HR director Angela Payne against Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan 'believable' Archived December 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.", Sheboygan Press, April 30, 2010.
  12. ^ "Settlement in Sheboygan Mayor sexual harassment suit". WFRV-TV. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ Litke, Eric (July 26, 2011). "Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan admits drinking over weekend, aldermen to meet". Sheboygan Press. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  14. ^ Courtney, Hutchison (August 1, 2011). "Home> Health Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan Blames Alcoholism for Public Bender and Bar Brawl". ABC News. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Henry, Colleen. "Drunken driving arrest of former Sheboygan mayor caught on dash cam". WISN-TV. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Sheboygan, attorneys move forward on mayor’s removal". Associated Press. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  17. ^ Flynt, Jeff. "Process to recall Sheboygan mayor Bob Ryan underway". WTAQ. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Sheboygan's Recall Push". Wall Street Journal. October 29, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  19. ^ Benson, Dan. "City clerk to rule on Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan recall effort in December". Sheboygan Press. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Schultze, Steve. "Sheboygan mayor advances to runoff in recall". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Van Akkeren hopes 'to move (Sheboygan) forward' after beating Ryan". WTMJ-TV. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  22. ^ DeMaster, Jon. "Terry Van Akkeren To Be Sworn In As Mayor March 5th". WHBL. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Monthly Mug Shots: March 2013". WLUK-TV. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  24. ^ Ross, Jeremy. "Former Sheb. Mayor Bob Ryan arrested for drunk driving". WITI-TV. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  25. ^ "UPDATE: Ex-Wis. mayor fined $801 in drunken driving case". WMTV. Retrieved December 17, 2014.