Clifford D. Barnett, Sr.

Mayor Pro-tem

Mayor Pro-Tem Clifford Barnett Sr.


Rev. Dr. Clifford D. Barnett, Sr. is a native of Rockville, Maryland. He received a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Livingstone College, a Masters of Divinity from Hood Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry in the Renewal of the Church for Mission from the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He has pastored in A.M.E. Zion churches across the country and was appointed to Warner Temple A.M.E. Zion Church in Wilmington, NC in October of 2009.

During the 14 years he pastored in Portsmouth, Virginia, Dr. Barnett built and sustains a number of partnerships that benefit families across the nation. He established the Portsmouth’s Grandparents as Parents Support Group at the church for grandparents and other kinship caregivers who were raising their relatives. The group expanded from the church into many of the elementary, middle, and high schools in Portsmouth and Chesapeake.

As a result of the church’s recognition and that of Brighton’s Solid Rock, Inc.’s, a nonprofit organization that he founded, Rev. Barnett had many opportunities to speak publicly at civic, state and national events. He has addressed the Senate in Washington, D.C. about grandparents raising grandchildren and the need for support of kinship care families. He has also spoken at the National Children’s Defense Fund’s Grand Rally held on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in support of kinship care.

Other ministries established during his tenure include the Study Buddies/Kid’s Café Afterschool Homework Program and the Bus Stop Mentoring Ministry. The Bus Stop program, a ministry for high school students who waited for the bus in the church’s vestibule, was an opportunity for church volunteers to mentor and encourage students who lived in the community. This ministry was recognized by General Colin Powell and included in his journal, “America’s Promise,” which featured other programs across the U.S. catering to children and youth. In addition, Barnett was also recognized in the Rose Garden at the White House in by President George W. Bush in 1999.

Since being in Wilmington and pastoring Warner Temple Church, Dr. Barnett continues to be involved in the community. He serves as the Chairman of the Southeastern Dropout Prevention Coalition at UNC-Wilmington, Co-chair of the NHC Community Resilience Task Force, a member of the Cape Fear Coalition for a Drug Free – Tomorrow Committee and a member of the D. C. Virgo Prep Academy Board of Advisors, where he also serves as a mentor to five boys weekly. He is a member of the Smart Start Board and the Boots on the Ground Ministry. He has been an integral part of the First 2,000 Days Initiative, bringing to light the effect of toxic stress during the first 2,000 days of an infant's life, in New Hanover County.

In 2017, Dr. Barnett was elected to the Wilmington City Council and re-elected in 2020. He is passionate about affordable housing being available to families and safe neighborhoods. Dr. Barnett is married to the former Waltrina White of Rock Hill, SC for 31 years. They have three children, Clifford Jr., Walter, and Helen Eileen.

City Council Committees

  • Audit Committee (Chair)
  • Legion Stadium Commission (Chair)
  • Naming Facilities Committee (Chair)
  • Ad Hoc Capital Improvements