Dodge City Mayor Joyce Warshaw submitted her letter of resignation Tuesday. It was effective immediately and it cited concerns for her safety.
“Life has dealt out many challenges in our world that have perhaps caused many people to act inappropriately but I do not feel safe in this position anymore and am hopeful in removing myself this anger, accusations and abuse will not fall on anyone else and will calm down,” Warshaw wrote in the letter.
The Dodge City commission voted in favor of a mask mandate on November 16 following a spike in coronavirus cases in the western Kansas city which has a population of nearly 30,000 people.
In a December 11 USA TODAY story, Warshaw expressed her support for the mandate and said that it wasn’t until the threat of the flu season and the spike in national cases that city officials felt it was necessary to pass a mask mandate.
“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,” Warshaw was quoted in the story, causing backlash from citizens.
Since the article was published, Warshaw has received threatening phone calls and emails from Dodge City citizens, according to the Dodge City Daily Globe.
Police are investigating the threats but could not provide any further information as it is an ongoing investigation, authorities told CNN.
“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 told the Daily Globe. “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.”
Warshaw was the third female mayor in the city’s history and had served on the city commission since 2012, according to the Daily Globe.
The vacancy will be discussed at a city commission meeting later this month.