Even Political Foes Mourn The Forced Resignation Of Nashville’s Mayor | Nashville Public Radio

Even Political Foes Mourn The Forced Resignation Of Nashville’s Mayor

Mar 6, 2018

Few are openly celebrating the demise of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who stepped down as part of a plea deal on Tuesday morning. She also pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge related to her two-year affair with the head of her security team.

"I don't think anybody can be happy about this today," said Councilman Steve Glover, a conservative and frequent critic of the Barry administration. "It's a sad day for Nashville. However, it's a day that needed to happen. Now we begin the healing process."

Councilman Steve Glover said the resignation made for a tough day for the city, but one that had to play out.
Credit Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

A common refrain among city leaders is that the functioning of the city is bigger than one person. Rev. Judy Cummings, a supporter as well as a candidate for a vacant council seat, said she's angry and frustrated but ready to move on.

"You know, I’m a pastor, so you take that day of mourning, but then you gotta get up and get back to work, and that’s what we have to do," she said.

That immediate city business includes the ongoing budget season, and preparing for a May 1 referendum to raise taxes that would pay for the city's first light rail system.

Barry's resignation comes just as signs showed she still had considerable political support. As recently as last week, her job approval was above 60 percent, according to the Vanderbilt Poll.

Stacy Perry says she’s disappointed because she thought Megan Barry was taking Nashville in the right direction.

"Optimistically, I kinda hoped that maybe she just made a poor moral decision and didn't affect taxpayer money and she would just kind of say, 'eh, stain on my sleeve.' and keep going," Perry said.

Still, many residents, like Mark Myers, say their opinion hasn't changed.

"Who’s exactly squeaky clean?" Myers said. "I’d vote for her again."

Barry has been seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, given her local popularity and the city's elevated profile.

Patrick Waller Reece, a middle school teacher in North Nashville, said he saw Barry going on to bigger things.

"I think she probably had one of the most positive trajectories for women in the political sphere," he said. "I think she could have done whatever she wanted."

But some voters think the forced resignation could spell the end of her political career.

"It's just going to follow her. Whatever she's trying to accomplish, it's always going to be there to interfere with it," said Vincent Sanders, a disabled veteran. But he added that, like many Nashville voters, he respects Barry's handling of the affair, admitting the mistake and apologizing for it.

"A lot of guys on Capitol Hill," he said, "they played around until the point they couldn't hide it anymore."

After being fairly quiet since public revelations of the affair, Barry's husband Bruce issued a statement quoting comedian Groucho Marx:

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself."