Nashville is in total crisis mode right now. Our mayor, Megan Barry, recently admitted she’s been having an affair with the head of her police security detail for the last two years. After holding a press conference and answering questions, she apparently expected to go back to work as if nothing had happened. But this is Nashville, y’all. People were fit to be tied.
In the days following her admission, many troubling details have emerged. It turns out Barry took several trips on mayoral business, accompanied only by her boyfriend, Sgt. Rob Forrest Jr. — and the pair stayed days longer than they should have. Also? Forrest earned nearly $175,000 in overtime while the two were having an affair. And just yesterday, the TBI announced nude photos have been discovered on Forrest’s phone, photos investigators believe are of our mayor, taken while she was on one of those ‘official’ business trips.
Things aren’t looking good for Megan Barry.
I have struggled with this story and whether or not to write about it. I want to have compassion for Megan Barry. In fact, I do have compassion for her, as a person. I can’t even imagine the humiliation and regret and remorse she must be feeling right now over her selfish actions.
But I’m also profoundly disappointed in the decisions she has made. I was so proud Nashville finally had a female mayor — I hoped she would lead our city with honor and integrity. I wanted Megan Barry to be proof to my daughter and the thousands of other girls in our city that when it comes to their career dreams and ambitions, the sky’s the limit. Instead, I found myself using Nashville’s first female mayor as a cautionary tale yesterday when my 13-year-old and I talked about the dangers of sexting.
And that’s when it really hit me hard that our city has had about enough. Megan Barry needs to resign.
She needs to resign not because she had an affair, but because she had an affair with an employee. She keeps insisting that she didn’t break any laws, but even if that’s found to be the case, the ethical and moral codes she broke repeatedly, starting just a few months after she took office, make her totally unsuitable for the job as head of our city. She knew at every point that what she was doing was so wrong and inappropriate. She knew all hell would break loose if she was found out and that her actions would deeply hurt her friends, her family, her staff, and her many supporters. She did it anyway. For years. She’s got to resign.
Nashville is growing and changing at record speed. Important decisions have to be made about the future of our city. We can’t have a leader who’s embroiled in scandal and police investigations. We need a mayor who can give the job his or her all. Megan Barry is no longer in a position to do that.
I truly hope Megan Barry is able to heal from this, and to repair some of the damage she has done in her relationships with others. I believe in stories of redemption and I hope that some day, she’ll have a doozy of one to tell the world. But in the meantime, Nashville needs to heal, just like Megan does. And we can’t do that while she’s our mayor.
Header image via Nashville Mayor’s Office