Northwood Mayor Speaks Out On His Resignation

Posted at: 11/15/2012 10:44 PM
Updated at: 11/15/2012 10:49 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- The mayor of Northwood Iowa says he no longer wants the job and has resigned. This amidst accusations of harassment and inappropriate conduct online.

Despite the controversy surrounding him, Randy Severson says that is not why he's leaving office. Instead, it's because of medical reasons and some difficult situations he's had to deal with as part of the job.

"You just are in a position where there is more stress and we in Northwood have had quite a bit in the last three years," said Randy Severson. He says it was stress on the job, not off, that caused him to resign.

Like having to fire the police chief, a police officer, and dealing with medical problems after a serious car crash.

"We really didn't think that Mayor Severson was serious about resigning, but evidently he felt this was best," said City Attorney John Greve.

However, his resignation comes at a troubling time in his personal life. First he was charged with harassment. "It was something that happened and I got scammed," said Severson. He was accused of threatening an ex-girlfriend after he bought her a car and she broke it off. "When I found all this out, I did text, after I was told not to," said Severson.

Most recently he was caught making detailed sexual remarks on Facebook. I asked him if he felt that was appropriate to do as mayor, he said, "Probably not as I look back." Severson says it was all a joke between a fellow council member and another friend. "It was dumb, and me and another person went back and forth joking around with her... with yes, sexual content," said Severson.

In hindsight he regrets this, but says his personal life did not affect his role in Northwood, nor his decision to quit. "I should have thought before doing, but I make mistakes just like everybody else," said Severson.

“I've had a very good working relationship with him and I consider him a personal friend," said Greve. Though Severson knows others in the town may not feel the same. "Northwood did lose somebody that did a lot for Northwood that people didn't see," said Severson.

Greve tells us council member Jane Bloomingdale is now interim mayor for the remainder of Severson's term. That ends next year, then a new mayor will be elected.