Mayor Warshaw resigns effective immediately
On Tuesday, Dec. 15, Dodge City Mayor Joyce Warshaw officially resigned from her position effective immediately.
“I understand people are under a lot of pressure from various things that are happening around society like the pandemic, the politics, the economy, so on and so forth, but I also believe that during these times people are acting not as they normally would,” Warshaw said regarding her reasons for her abrupt resignation. “I think it’s best for me and the city that I love to remove myself from the commission at this time and from the mayorship so that the city can move forward and be the best that it can be because I believe in the city.
"I believe it is a wonderful place to live, work, play and raise your children. I will always love Dodge City and it will always be my home.”
Warshaw’s heavy decision was made with concerns for her safety after being met with aggression, including threats via phone and email from Dodge City citizens, following extreme backlash due to an article by USA Today published on Dec. 11, regarding the mask mandate.
Warshaw is quoted in the article as saying, "We just felt like we had to do something so everybody was aware of how important it was for everybody to be responsible for each other’s health and well-being.”
In an interview with the Dodge City Daily Globe, Warshaw said she does not have any regrets regarding voting in favor of the mask mandate.
Warshaw said she feels her life has been threatened and reasoned that it is because she finds society to be unpredictable at this point.
Regarding investigations into the threatening emails, Warshaw said that some of them have been turned in to the police.
“This is harder for me than people realize,” Warshaw said as she began to cry. “I really love this city with all my heart.
“I still believe in this city and I believe in their ability to not harm one another.”
Regarding the threats made toward Warshaw, Dodge City Police Chief Drew Francis said, "We are looking into the substance of the communication to determine an appropriate course of action."
Going forward, according to Kansas state statute (KSA 12-104a(c)), the move to fill the commission vacancy will be conducted within the governing body.
"Per this statute, the remaining commissioners will have 60 days from the formal notice of resignation to appoint, by majority vote, a person to fill the vacancy," city public information officer Abbey Martin said. "If the commission does not appoint someone to fill the position within the designated time frame, then there may be a resolution passed for a special election."
The Daily Globe reached out to other commissioners about Warshaw's resignation.
Commissioner Kent Smoll said Tuesday afternoon, "I was saddened to see the letter from Mayor Warshaw. I have not talked with her. Her decision is a personal one and I respect it. She was and continues to be a great ambassador for Dodge City. I wish Joyce the best."
Commissioner Brian Delzeit said, "I do not have a comment."
Commissioners Rick Sowers and Joseph Nuci did not respond by press time.
Warshaw was named to the city commission in 2012 when the position was vacated by Michael Weece. In 2015 she was elected mayor, becoming the third female mayor in the history of Dodge City.
Warshaw had retired as the principal of Miller Elementary School in 2017 after a 27-year career in education, with the last 18 years as principal.
According to Martin, Warshaw's term will expire January 2022 and will be up for election in 2021.
The vacancy will be discussed at the city commission meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 21.
According to counsel for the city Brad Ralph, the commissioners will determine the process on how to consider applicants for the position.
The meeting will be livestreamed on the city Facebook page or its Vimeo page.
Additional reporting by Judd Weil, Dodge City Daily Globe.
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