Chris McBarnes

Emilie S Syberg / WBAA

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. 

City of Frankfort

After Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes announced his plans to resign to take a new job in Wyoming, three candidates threw their hats in the ring to replace him. Republican precinct chairs will pick one of them tomorrow. WBAA spoke with all three candidates about why they’re running, why they should be mayor, and what they plan to accomplish.

Frankfort’s Clerk-Treasurer Judy Sheets, Frankfort Board of Works member Ken Estes, and Frankfort City Council member Eric Woods all say their experiences working with--and within--city government qualify them for the job.

courtesy City of Frankfort

This week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, a departing mayor looks back on his two terms and two months in office.

We’ll have our final monthly conversation with Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes, whose last day in office is next week. As McBarnes prepares to end not only his time as mayor, but his time in Indiana, what does he see as his biggest successes and his biggest regrets—and what does the future hold in his new home, Wyoming?

We’ll talk about this weekend’s upcoming caucus for McBarnes’s successor, and where he thinks the next mayor's priorities should lie. 

Credit Jimmy Emerson /

Frankfort residents will know the name of their next mayor after Republican precinct chairs choose a successor for Mayor Chris McBarnes this weekend.

Frankfort Clerk-Treasurer Judy Sheets, Frankfort City Council member Eric Woods, and Frankfort Board of Works member Ken Estes will make their case to hold the mayor's office at a caucus Saturday morning in Frankfort's city council chambers. 

Clinton County Republican Party chairperson Jim Moyer says up to 20 Republican precinct chairs could select the new mayor this weekend—and the majority vote rules.

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.

courtesy City of Frankfort

It’s the start of a new year in Frankfort, with new members of city council and some new hires in key city positions on the way. How does a mayor embarking on his own third term manage these transitions?

This week in our talk with Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes, we’ll get a progress report on the ongoing construction of Frankfort’s Prairie Creek Park. How do initiatives like Prairie Creek Park and—at the moment—a seasonal ice skating rink bring people downtown, and what are the year-round strategies to keep them there?

courtesy City of Frankfort

While Frankfort leaders are hoping to draw more people to the area this holiday season for winter festivities, they’re also faced with a problem: where all those people are going to park, especially as year-round residents get frosty about wanting to share those same spaces.

So on this week’s Ask The Mayor program, we’ll chat with Chris McBarnes about what his city’s remedy might be. Some cities have installed parking meters, while others, such as Lafayette and West Lafayette, have chosen more passive – but more costly – forms of enforcement.

City of Frankfort

Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes says he’s already working on replacement plans for three key city employees scheduled to depart in the first half of 2020. 

Police Chief Troy Bacon and Building and Zoning Inspector Sam Payne are retiring—Bacon after eight years in his role, and Payne after more than 12.  

Frankfort Human Resources Director Jack Dodd is leaving to run the city of Kokomo’s HR department—a role he previously held from 2003 to 2007.  

courtesy City of Frankfort

In February, WBAA held a public forum in Frankfort which asked residents, in part: What's the "thing" that the city should be known for?

The most workable answer then seemed to be drawing in more visitors when the annual Festival of Lights show goes up each winter.

On this week's Ask The Mayor, we talk with Mayor Chris McBarnes about how his city has doubled down on trying to become just such a cold weather cash cow.

courtesy City of Frankfort

At the beginning of this year, WBAA held a public forum in Frankfort asking residents what amenities they wanted to see in town, and also asking this question: is there a single signature feature around which an identity could be built?

This week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, we ask Chris McBarnes whether he might be able to turn recent difficulties with recycling into an opportunity as the waste disposal industry tries to re-evaluate its future. In a manufacturing-heavy city such as Frankfort, it might make sense.