Frankfort residents officially have a new mayor-elect. After three rounds of balloting, Republican precinct chairs selected Frankfort Clerk-Treasurer Judy Sheets to succeed Mayor Chris McBarnes after his departure next week.
“I promise you I will work hard for this city,” an emotional Sheets said to the 18 precinct chairs who attended Saturday morning’s caucus. “And you will be proud of this city.”
Sheets will be Frankfort’s second woman mayor, after Mary Jane McMahon, who led the city from 1976 to 1983.
“It’s the best day of my life,” Sheets said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted, something I’ve always dreamed of, never thought I would get to do it. And here I am. I did it!”
“Well, I didn’t do it,” she added, gesturing to the room behind her. “They did it. The people supported me, and that’s what I love.”
Sheets said she hopes her years of service to the city helped convince caucus-goers that she was the best choice for the job. She’s in her third term as Frankfort’s Clerk-Treasurer, and worked at the Frankfort Police Department for almost 30 years. She said some people have expressed an interest in taking on her current role, which will also be filled in a caucus.
“This has been my life for 41 years,” Sheets said. “It’s nothing new. Other than being mayor!”
Sheets received eight votes in the first round of balloting, while fellow candidates Ken Estes and Eric Woods each received five. In a second round of balloting, Sheets and Estes each picked up an additional vote, putting them at nine votes to six, while Woods was awarded the remaining three. Sheets ultimately prevailed in the final round with 12 votes.
“She’s very well-versed in all the finances that go on with the city — not only can she act as the mayor, she can act as the mentor to whoever takes the clerk-treasurer’s position, since she knows what goes on there,” said Clinton County Republican Party chair Jim Moyer, who said the caucus proceeded “smoothly.”
In a text message, Mayor Chris McBarnes said, “I wish the Mayor-Elect all the best on a successful tenure. Frankfort deserves the same energy and progress it has experienced in recent years. The people and I will be watching.”
As Sheets concluded her remarks to the precinct chairs, and stepped away from the podium, Moyer addressed the room one final time.
“Thank you all for taking part in this exercise in democracy,” he said. “May I have a motion to destroy the ballots?”