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History and Colfax tie highlight election

By ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Tuesday’s election in the county lacked drama – outside of the Colfax town council – for the most part but history was made in the Frankfort mayoral election and some new faces will also be on Frankfort’s city council come January.

Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes ran unopposed but with his third election victory he established a benchmark as the first administration to win three terms in office.

“This piece of history is not lost on me and I give all the glory to God and look forward to continuing to move Frankfort forward,” he said Wednesday.

“We had a really hard fought primary and to have 73 percent of the voters’ (at that time) support was a very humbling experience,” McBarnes added in relation to the May primary battle with Frankfort city councilman Lewis Wheeler.

The Republican mayor will find some turnover in the city council when it convenes in January with three new councilmen taking their seats in Brandt Fuller, Michael Brite and Megan Sheets. Sheets is the only one who did so in a contested race, winning one of two spots as a city council at-large candidate. She carried the most votes (859) with 45.8 percent, while Republican incumbent Eric Woods took the second vacant at-large seat with 755 votes for 40.3 percent outdistancing Democrat David Riggs (260 votes for 13.9 percent).

“Eric Woods and I worked to present ourselves as the Republican team and he helped me so much,” Sheets said, adding the two strived together to serve on the council “and we were both proud that we were able to do so.”

She noted that she only sought her first public office because Jim Moyer “my great friend decided not to run. If that had not happened, I wouldn’t have entered the race.”

Still, Sheets brought home the most votes for the position.

“It was very gratifying,” she said, noting that the gratification came more in that voters appreciated the work she’s done in other civic and nonprofit positions in the community than “the campaign effort” itself.

The current payroll specialist for the Frankfort school corporation currently serves on the Clinton County Community Foundation Board and previously served as executive director of the United Way for Clinton County and as manager of the BMV in Frankfort and in BMV administrative positions.

“I have not served in an elected position,” Sheets said. “This is my first. I’ve served in several community organizations and a lot of civic and nonprofit organizations.”

For the Clinton County Community Foundation Board, she also serves on the their grant committee, which should serve her well in her newly elected position. She noted a focus for her would be providing “adequate and affordable housing in our community.”

Sheets said that “I have been doing my due diligence” in educating herself through the mayor and the current council. “There is a lot left to learn, so I’m up for the challenge,” she added.

The only real drama in Tuesday’s election occurred for the final seat of five on the Colfax Town Council, with a tie between Republican Vince Scott and Democrat Katie Allen at 36 votes (10.3 percent) each. Marty Stevens (R) led all candidates for town council with 17.8 percent of the vote (62), followed by Mike Brothers (R) at 12.9 percent (45), Brian Boksa (D) at 12 percent (42) and Gavin Jones (R) at 11.5 percent (40).

State statute provides that the “fiscal body of a political subdivision … shall resolve the tie vote by electing a person to fill the office not later than December 31 following the election at which the tie vote occurred.” When such a vote will occur or how remains up in the air at the moment.

“The county clerk emailed me and she’s sending me the paperwork,” Colfax town clerk Betty Snell said. “I have to wait on the paperwork.”

The Colfax Town Council next meets on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.

“That would be the soonest the vote would be taken,” Snell said, reiterating she wants to look at the paperwork from the county clerk and review the proper procedures before commenting definitively.