Megan Barry resigns as Nashville mayor, weeks after admitting affair with her security chief
The Washington Post by Amy B Wang and Eli Rosenberg March 6 at
Megan Barry resigned as Nashville’s mayor Tuesday morning, weeks after admitting an affair with the police officer who ran her security detail.
Barry announced her resignation at a news conference, shortly after she pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge related to the affair, the Tennessean reported.
She kept her remarks brief and smiled throughout the announcement.
“It has been my honor and it has been the privilege of my entire professional life to have had the blessing and the opportunity to be your mayor,” Barry said. “God bless this wonderful city. I love you, Nashville.”
She did not answer shouted questions on her way out of the news conference, including whether her resignation had been part of a plea deal. The Associated Press reported that it was.
The 54-year-old Democrat, who was elected mayor of Tennessee’s bustling capital in 2015, disclosed the affair to the media in late January.
“Today I acknowledged publicly that I have engaged in an extramarital affair with the former head of my security detail,” Barry said in a Jan. 31 statement. “I accept full responsibility for the pain I have caused my family and his. I am so sorry to my husband Bruce, who has stood by me in my darkest moments and remains committed to our marriage, just as I am committed to repairing the damage I have done.”
The Tennessean identified the officer as Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr. of Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. Their affair began in mid-2016, the newspaper reported, but Barry said it ended before her public admission. Forrest has resigned from the department.
In the following weeks, Barry faced growing calls to resign and became the subject of multiple investigations, including a criminal inquiry by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessean reported.
On Tuesday, she pleaded guilty to theft of property over $10,000; Barry agreed to reimburse the city $11,000 and serve three years’ probation, according to the newspaper.
Vice Mayor David Briley becomes Nashville’s acting mayor. Barry wished him and others well as she resigned.
“I sincerely hope and believe that my own actions will not tarnish or otherwise detract from all of the great work that they do,” she said.
Briley, 54, is a Nashville native who was elected vice mayor in 2015. He previously was an at-large member of the Metropolitan Council from 1999 to 2007.
“This is a hard day for Nashville,” Briley said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “Mayor Barry’s resignation will enable us to regain focus on the important work of our city. My pledge is simple: As mayor, I will begin work immediately with a sole focus on managing the city and making progress on community priorities. That work will be transparent and be conducted with every effort to restore public trust, and move our great city forward.”
Briley was scheduled to be sworn in as mayor at 5 p.m. local time Tuesday.
Barry has been considered a rising political star, and the disclosure comes at a fraught time for her.
A contentious $5.4 billion mass-transit project she has backed is up for voter approval in May. Last year, her 22-year-old son Max died of a drug overdose; Forrest was the officer who broke the news to Barry, according to the Tennessean.
The affair has also drawn scrutiny to the overtime the officer accrued while managing her detail. According to the newspaper, Forrest accompanied Barry on trips to Paris, Athens, Washington, New York, Denver, Oakland and other cities in the past year.
Forrest racked up around $33,000 in expenses for the trips and more than $50,000 in overtime in 2017 on top of an $84,500 salary, the Tennessean reported. Barry traveled alone with Forrest on nine of the trips, including one to Greece in September, according to the newspaper.
“I deeply regret that my professional relationship with Mayor Barry turned into a personal one,” Forrest said in a statement provided by lawyer David Raybin. “This has caused great pain for my wife, my family, friends and colleagues. At no time did I ever violate my oath as a police officer or engage in actions that would abuse the public trust.”
In January, Barry said she and Forrest are no longer seeing each other.
Okay it might be me. When I lived in San Francisco the then Mayor, Gavin Newsom, had his own controversy's during his time in office and has since bounded back and is now running for Governor of California.
The former Mayor, Willie Brown, had a long history of being involved with many women whom served in public positions and instead of #MeToo they found themselves in successful careers and are elevating themselves in the current political climate despite a career that has both pros and cons that are well documented and known in California but seemingly have had no issue with regards to Senator Harris' rising star.
Then when I lived in Seattle, Mayor Ed Murray, resigned only after finally finding the smoking gun that confirmed the issues surrounding his relationships with his foster children in the 90's. But Seattle was as conflicted as they were here as he was the first Gay Mayor and thought of as a symbol of the City's progressiveness.
But hell there are no shortage of Mayor's here as well as in Canada that have had great rises and great falls. Remember the lunatic in Toronto who smoked crack in office? He was one of many. But this case of our Mayor Berry and her indiscretion will resonate with issues that the City is now debating, the largest is the transit bill. The current plan was over the top and frankly underserving the community at large. The silly transit tunnels the 36 mile light rail plans were dumber than shit but hell at least it was better than nothing and frankly they are so far behind with regards to public transportation and infrastructure created to this issue that something is better than nothing.
But after this last week in San Francisco and seeing the flaws and failures they are few and far between given the scope and scale of the City and its diversity and history. There is something to say that sex drugs and rock and roll certainly give one character. And with that comes Nashville that reminds me more of Seattle in each passing day. From the Seattle Freeze to Southern Hospitality to the crisis in gentrification to the faux liberal belief that white people are part of the problem not the solution not realizing that empowering and enabling those whom you marginalize the ability to grow on their own terms through their own ways is a much better way of showing how any lives matter cannot be lost. The distinctions are that culture and history tied to said culture are those regarding Education and Civic responsibility. It cannot be lost that few are educated here and that number is the ironic same that vote, yet oddly not members of the same cohort. And that is because many of them do not reside here full time, are not engaged in the growth and change of the region and those that do have an Education are not liberal. Shocking, I know. Surprise when you attend largely non-secular private schools and are members of a Church you are not going to vote Democratic.
I am not surprised and yet surprised about the Mayor here as despite her Kansas roots oddly labelled as Californian ones, despite only being born there, this is a tribal city and where one's roots began that is your identity regardless of how short they remained in said soil. Megan Barry was more Southern than any Belle as she lies like a trooper marked with prayers and condolences that define the character here. I would like to say I have never met a woman here I have liked despite trying repeatedly it as if women here refuse to be modern in any sense of the word.
When in San Francisco I was told by a Sales Clerk about his friend who live here and was fashion centric as Nashville is known for its flair. I busted out laughing and informed him we have one major fashion retail store, Nordstrom, ironically from Seattle, and it is one of the most inadequate branches of the store I have ever been in. And that as I live here I see little that defines fashion but that said I am unsure what she defines fashion as he informed me she was a former Make Up artist from Good Morning America, so clearly we move in different circles. He was obstinate that she was very fashionable and I have no reason to disbelieve his claims as I don't know the woman but the women I know fall into the classifcation as Church Lady. We did agree that the people of the south are utter phonies and trash talk about you behind your back once out of earshot. Again via my experience with the children here they don't even do that but perhaps that is what the grow out of and learn to wait that long.
There was something odd about the Mayor, her affair and her sudden declaration about said affair with no rumors or speculations about this among the media nor anyone of the constituency. But again I don't move in said circles who may be advised or aware of said indiscretions. But I have never understood the endless excuses, explanations or justifications for a Mayor to have said security detail and the overseas trips that required a Security Officer to accompany a woman of a very Tier B city. Again, mass shootings and other acts of terrorism seem to strike the average and not the elite as well they are rarely among the public and when are there is ample security available in which to do the job. So going to Athens Greece is nuts and I never bought it in any way.
But this is So, Nashville. They parallel the same intensity and absurdity I thought I left behind. What was Seattle Freeze is now Southern Hospitality. What was the Bro-tech culture is the Jesus Brigade. What was speaking one's mind is speaking verboten in both as neither city likes any direct confrontation or conflict and the same awkward talk of race plagues both cities. Nashville just raises the bar as they include sexuality as a part of the mix and of course religion and by religion they mean any other than Christianity. Here if they were to wear shirts they would do Muslims lives Matter and so do Jews and that is the measure of equality - a T-Shirt slogan.
I am sure that the end of liberal Democrats have come to an end here in Nashville along with women in politics. Beth Hartwell a right wing asswipe, Marsha Blackburn a Trump blowhard are all running for higher office and frankly nothing would make me happier to see them crash and burn. The thought of these women in any position of power makes my skin crawl. It crawls a lot here in the South but thanks to the ability to fly on planes I can escape for a long weekend to find myself again. Yet, we have real problems and no one will solve them. Nashville's reign as the "it" city is over and I don't care either way I just want to get out here sooner versus later. Bye Bye Bye.