Embattled Nashville Mayor Megan Barry responded defiantly late Wednesday to the call from the Editorial Board of The Tennessean earlier in the day for her to resign. That call comes in the aftermath of her admission to an extramarital affair with her former bodyguard, Metro Nashville Police Sgt. Rob Forrest.
“I was elected to serve as mayor by the voters of Davidson County, and I will continue to do so. The Tennessean is welcome to their opinion,” she said in a statement released by Sean Braisted, director of communications for the Mayor’s Office.
The Tennessean’s call for her resignation, written by the paper’s very liberal opinion page editor, David Plazas, pulled no punches:
A leader must put the interests and the needs of the people she serves above her own.
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.
Barry’s adamant refusal to acknowledge the merits of The Tennessean’s call for her resignation suggests that she is circling the wagons and has abandoned her prior commitment to “openness,” “transparency,” and “cooperation” with the three current investigations into her conduct.
Short of an indictment and a conviction, Barry appears determined to cling to office no matter what the cost to the city of Nashville and its residents.