Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has increased the size of the Mayor’s Office staff from 22 in August 2015, the month before she was elected and sworn in to office, to 36 in February 2018.
The Tennessee Star asked Sean Braisted, director of communications for the Mayor’s Office, to explain why Mayor Barry increased the size of her office staff by more than 60 percent during her two and a half years in office, but received no response.
News of this massive increase in her personal entourage comes on the heels of revelations of her increased use of security personnel in contrast to her predecessors and the burgeoning scandal over her extramarital affair with Sgt. Rob Forrest, the former Metro Nashville Police Dept officer who headed her security detail until Jan. 31.
It also highlights a growing concern about a lack of checks and balances and the failure to apply standard internal controls to financial and personnel operations within Metro Nashville Davidson County Government during Barry’s tenure.
At least five other examples of these failures have come light in the month since Mayor Barry admitted to an extramarital affair with her former bodyguard.
- The so-called “computer glitch” in which for more than a year and a half Metro Nashville Davidson County Government’s information system failed to properly identify the first-line approver of Forrest’s travel requests as the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Debbie Mason, and instead falsely identified that first-line approver as Police Chief Steve Anderson.
- The failure of Metro Nashville Police Department’s internal approval process–going through Captain Mike Anderson of the Special Investigations Division–to identify irregularities in the overtime requests submitted by Barry’s lover, Sgt. Rob Forrest.
- The unusual manner in which Sgt. Forrest’s daughter, Macy Amos, obtained a job in Metro Legal created specifically for her in which no other candidate was interviewed.
- The apparent gift of travel in September 2017 to Athens, Greece provided to Mayor Barry by the Rockefeller Foundation-funded 100 Resilient Cities initiative, (a trip on which she was accompanied only by her lover, Sgt. Forrest), which took place shortly after Barry used city funds to establish a new Chief Resilience Officer, Erik Cole, a key policy objective of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative.
- Unusual patterns of promotions in other parts of Metro Nashville Davidson County Government that sources tell The Star have not yet been reported, but are nonetheless worthy of investigation.
The disturbing pattern of facts presented by Mayor Barry’s extramarital affair and the long litany of actions lacking appropriate checks and balances on her power undertaken during her tenure suggest that the Metro Nashville Davidson County Government has become a vehicle designed to advance the mayor’s personal ambitions and national political agenda rather than a servant of the residents of Davidson County.