In a crushing blow from one of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s best allies, The Tennessean’s Editorial Board called for her resignation Wednesday.
The detailed commentary was written by Opinion and Engagement Editor David Plazas on behalf of the entire Board, with collaboration by fellow editorial board members Vice President and Editor Michael A. Anastasi and Executive Editor Maria De Varenne.
“A leader must put the interests and the needs of the people she serves above her own,” Plazas’ editorial begins, which lays out in painful detail the many reasons Barry’s continued service in office is untenable:
We thought Nashville Mayor Megan Barry was doing just that.
However, it has become abundantly clear in recent weeks that this is not the case after the revelation of her affair with her subordinate and former head of security, retired Metro Nashville Police Department Sgt. Rob Forrest.
This is a confounding and disappointing situation:
– How he could rack up more than $170,000 in overtime pay over three years, which included extended domestic and overseas trips with her alone and overtime charges in Nashville for hours after the mayor’s calendar showed official events of the day had ended.
– How her Chief Operating Officer Rich Riebeling let the Mayor’s Office approve and pay for security detail travel requests – and how those trips grew from one with just Barry and Forrest alone to nine more after Chief of Staff Debby Dale Mason started supervising those requests.
– How despite promises of cooperation with authorities and transparency with the public, Barry and her administrative team have only done so when forced to. Several public records requests are still unfulfilled with the mayor’s office citing a “deliberative process” exemption.
On Feb. 4, the Sunday after Barry confessed to her affair publicly, the Tennessean Editorial Board chose to rebuke her in an editorial entitled “Megan Barry betrayed Nashville.”
We did not ask for her resignation then because there were still so many questions.
Her behavior and actions of the past four weeks, however, painfully demonstrate that her priority lies in her own political survival.
Read the entire editorial here.
As The Tennessee Star reported earlier this month, “The Tennessean’s Clarksville-based liberal columnist and opinion writer Saritha Prabhu penned a passionate call on Mayor Megan Barry to resign from office Friday afternoon after a new wave of revelations surrounding Barry’s affair and cover-up with top staffer Rob Forrest came to light.”
Now, the entire editorial board of The Tennessean has come to the same conclusion.
Judson Phillips, writing in a Tennessee Star commentary on February 1, the day after Mayor Barry admitted to the affair with Sgt. Forrest, was one of the first to call for Barry’s resignation.