Revelations about Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s extramarital affair have surfaced just as she pursues one of her toughest political goals: convincing voters to fund her multi-billion-dollar mass transit plan.
But after what she called an embarrassing and “very bad day,” she won’t be taking a leave.
During an unusual nighttime news conference Wednesday, the mayor publicly acknowledged an extramarital affair with the former head of her security detail. But she flat out rejected the idea of resigning.
“I made a serious mistake, but this is not a tragedy,” Barry said.
The mayor stood alone in front of council members, top city officials and a wall of journalists who peppered her with questions during an apology widely aired across the city.
Barry said she has an aggressive agenda and, specifically, no intent to postpone a mass transit funding referendum.
“I will look forward to continuing to work for Nashvillians. We have an agenda in this office that is robust, and we have been focused on transit and housing and education, and we will continue to do that,” Barry said, adding, “I believe as the mayor I’ve been able to do a lot of good things in this city, with the Metro Council and the people I work with.”
The mayor could face a follow-up investigation and said she’d cooperate. Under pressure from reporters, her office has already turned over calendars, overtime expenses and text messages involving Rob Forrest, the police sergeant with whom she had an affair.
“Our records are available for anybody to look at,” Barry said.
The Tennessean reported that Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher, chairwoman of the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, is exploring what investigative powers she has.
Barry's resolve to stay in office did find support from some council members, including Erica Gilmore.
“As a city council member, what I have to do is make sure that I’m staying focused on the issues of the city. Because we have a lot of things to focus on.”
And Councilman DeCosta Hastings said his focus was on constituent needs. “We do not want the changes and the momentum that we have going forward to slow down.”