Mayor Bill Barnett

Today is March 29, 2020 and this will be the last article I write for Life in Naples as your Mayor. On April 1st, Naples new Mayor will be sworn in and I will be officially retired.

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t be writing for Life in Naples, it only means I’ll have a new title. After this article comes out in May the next article will be in August, so I’ll have plenty of time along with my boss to figure it out.

This is probably more of a thank you article than a political one although the two are intertwined. I’ve had a marvelous political  ride that started in 1984 and basically spanned 36 years of which 28 of them were in elected office either as a City Councilman or your Mayor. There was never a day that went by that I didn’t thank God for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity to serve the residents of the City of Naples.

The first thank you goes to my wife Chris. We were married in 1985 and with the exception of my first year on City Council she has been with me my whole political career. Without her guidance and understanding I would have never been able to achieve the awesome experiences that we shared and the wonderful people that we met during this journey.

Helping to shape Naples into what it is today gives me an amazing amount of pleasure. I want to thank my mentors which were  many along the way. My very first City Council meeting I looked around the dais and realized at that time I was the youngest
Council person ever elected. I marveled that the Mayor and the other five Council members all had finished successful careers and I had them all to mentor me, a pure rookie! It must have rubbed off because over the years and all the various Councils that I either served on or Chaired as Mayor I never forgot my first lessons that I was taught.

The one that stuck with me the most was told to me by my first City Manager, Frank Jones. One day I said to him “Frank, how do we control growth”? He smiled and said to me “Councilman Barnett, you can never control growth, you can manage it”. How many times over the past years did I remember his words? A lot! I want to thank all those prior Councils, the various volunteer committees and boards that made life for us on Council a lot more bearable offering their advice that many had acquired over their lifetime in successful businesses. I want to thank from the bottom of my heart the incredible City employees and staff that I have had the pleasure of knowing and serving with.

Some are still with the City today and each one of those employees were and are all a great part of our City family. Frank Jones,
Richard Woodruff, Kevin Rambosk, Dr. Robert Lee, Bill Moss, and now Charles Chapman were all superb City Managers. I built
relationships with each and every one of them and will remain close with them during my retirement.

I was indeed fortunate to have had the pleasure of working with some wonderful Administrative Assistants to the Mayor and Council. They made a huge difference in my daily operations as Mayor. I would like to thank the multitude of wonderful residents of our City who were never afraid to give advice whether warranted or not. I took their advice as a major part of my job and developed lifetime friendships with the vast majority of them.

As I look back over my political career, I would like to think that my contributions will have played a part in Naples History.

Mayor Bill Barnett
“Mayor Bill” 1996-2000, 2004-2008, 2008-2012, and 2016-2020.

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