Metro Council Special Committee Investigating Mayor Megan Barry Will Hire Outside Counsel, But Use Internal Auditor

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – At the first meeting of the Metro Council Special Committee established “to investigate the circumstances involving the travel and other expenses including overtime expenses potentially related to the Mayor’s extramarital affair to determine if there was any improper use of public money” held Thursday, the seven members voted unanimously to use outside legal counsel from recommendations to be made by Vice Mayor David Briley, but rely on the Metropolitan Government Internal Auditor rather than using outside accounting professionals.

The resolution  (page 41) passed by the Council on February 6, 2018, required that the Vice Mayor establish within seven days a Special Committee comprised of between three and seven members. The seven members Briley appointed to the Special Committee were Burkley Allen, Erica Gilmore, Brenda Haywood, Mina Johnson, Bob Mendes, Russ Pulley and Robert Swope. Pulley and Allen were the only two to vote against the formation of the Special Committee, with Allen going on to be elected the Chairman of the Special Committee.

The resolution allowed the Special Committee, for the purpose of accomplishing its investigation, to engage the services of outside legal and accounting professionals, but the Special Committee opted instead to keep the audit function of the investigation with a metro government employee.

The Metropolitan Internal Auditor, Mark Swann, according to the organization chart, reports to the Metropolitan Nashville Audit Committee. The Audit Committee is comprised of six members: Vice Mayor David Briley, two Council members John Cooper and Bob Mendes, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce representative Brack Reed, and Metro Finance Director Talia Lomax-O’dneal, who reports directly to Mayor Megan Barry.

Swann, who has been an employee of Metro government for more than ten years, told The Tennessee Star that among other audits, the payroll of various departments has been audited, but the overtime of the police department had not. At Councilman Swope’s request, Swann estimated that it would take four to six weeks to conduct a review of the questionable travel and overtime expenses and the related policies.

Subsequent to what appeared to be a choreographed proposal-turned-motion made by Councilman Mendes, the Committee approved unanimously that Vice Mayor Briley work with the Nashville and Napier-Looby Bar Associations for the purpose of making at least two recommendations for outside legal counsel who would have no legal or political conflict of interest, something Briley said would be “hard, because lawyers are so engaged.”

The decision to pursue outside legal counsel was in line with the recommendation of Mike Jameson, who has served as the Metro Council’s special counsel since being appointed by his reported personal friend and political ally, Vice Mayor Briley, in October 2017.

Jameson made the point that one advantage of using outside legal counsel would be that witness interviews could be conducted in a “discreet setting.” Councilman Mendes disagreed that a benefit of outside counsel was “discreet” interviews, “also known as out of the public eye,” and that discussion of interviews was premature at this time.

The meeting was sparsely attended, but one concerned citizen told The Star she witnessed the Vice Mayor come from the Council Member area into the observers’ area and cheerfully pat the Auditor on the shoulder, and expressed uneasiness about the objectivity of the investigation with the Special Committee not using an independent external auditor.

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 1 and 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, during which the Special Committee is expected to select one of the outside legal counsel options recommended by the Vice Mayor.

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10 Thoughts to “Metro Council Special Committee Investigating Mayor Megan Barry Will Hire Outside Counsel, But Use Internal Auditor”

  1. Albert Moore

    This is obviously going to be nothing but a whitewash investigation from the start. Megan Barry’s friend and supporter has been appointed to be in charge of the investigation and refused to answer the questions of a reporter about her relationship with Barry until the investigation was completed. No doubt, the whole thing is absolutely rigged in favor of the Mayor. They should have appointed an independent special counsel to investigate Barry’s unlawful conduct.

  2. jay

    It is clear that she was paying this guy to have sex with her, using taxpayer money. She should be charged with solicitation of sex. She’s a John. How many others are being covered up?

  3. Bob

    The FIX IS IN! The head of the board didn’t want a board just a few days ago. interviews will be behind closed doors? We MUST bring in the federal government to over see this NOW!

    1. lb

      You read my mind. Putting Berkely Allen on it (the mayoress lives in her district and just yesterday they were out planting trees together) on the committe was bad enough. THEN they elected her to head up this committee. It was a giant F U to the Taxpayers of Metro who are calling for the adulteress to resign

  4. Austin

    This is hilarious! So typical of Democrats.
    It’s like hiring Eric Holder to investigate and Lois Lerner to do the audit ———

  5. Wolf Woman

    What a bunch of hogwash. Or should I say probable whitewash.

  6. John J.

    I see and smell a rat! See the rat? Only a government entity could get away with using an internal auditor on such an important issue. All legitimate above-board organiztions utilize third party auditors to assure proper keeping of the “books”. Smell the rat? Legal advice is going to be from a lawyer/law firm recommended by the Vice Mayor. Do any citizens believe that Mr. Briley is completely unbiased? The “next in command” is picking the entity that might decide if the Vice Mayor is going to be the next mayor, or not. Transparency? What transparency?

    And finally, in this day and age of trying NOT to discriminate, our very own special committee to investigate the Mayor’s affair is discrimnating. They specifically said that the legal cousel must come from the Nashville Bar Association or the Napier Looby Bar Association. Right there, they are saying the lawyer being picked has to come from a certain demographic. Isn’t that the essence of discrimination? So a lawyer who belongs to the Rutherford County Bar or the Hispanic Bar can’t provide the service? This is classic discrimination at it’s finest. But we’re being told that there’s nothing to see here!

  7. 83ragtop50

    This thing smells.

  8. Papa

    Results: Nothing to see here! I expect nothing more to come out of the investigation.