Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes Announces Resignation

Jan 28, 2020

McBarnes and then-Frankfort City Council member Lewis Wheeler debated each other at a mayoral candidate forum ahead of last year's primaries.
Credit Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes announced Tuesday he’s leaving his post at the end of February, about two months after the start of his third term.

McBarnes is moving to Wyoming to become the executive director of The WYldlife Fund, a role in which he’ll fundraise for habitat preservation and wildlife research across the state. He says as an outdoor enthusiast, the job was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“And you know, to be honest, I wasn’t going to be a mayor forever,” McBarnes says. “I never wanted to be a career politician. I’ve shared that several times. Did I think it was going to happen this soon? No.”

McBarnes says he held a series of meetings with members of city government over the past two days to lay the groundwork for his resignation.

“It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done, to walk away from the community, but I’m walking away with my head held high,” McBarnes says. “I feel like the work we’ve done here in the past eight years has charted Frankfort onto a new course—a better course.”

McBarnes has focused on attracting new residents to the city during his tenure, spearheading projects like new downtown housing and park space.

McBarnes was only 23 when he was first voted into office in 2011. Clinton County Republican party chair and former Frankfort city council member Jim Moyer says the mayor’s successor will be selected in a caucus by Frankfort’s 19 precinct captains.