Nashville mayor who grew up in Overland Park resigns after affair

Kelvin Reese
March 7, 2018

Barry, a Democrat who was elected in September 2015, is the first Nashville mayor to leave office before the expiration of his or her term in almost a century.

The Nashville paper reports that Barry's departure will elevate Vice Mayor David Briley to the job of acting mayor. The review found, in some instances, there were no events on Barry's calendar during hours Forrest earned overtime pay.

Tennessee state Senator Ken Yager (R- Kingston) was the first lawmaker to acknowledge the announcement on Twitter.

When Barry first admitted January 31 to having an affair with Sgt. Robert Forrest, she said she planned to stay in office.

In court, Barry didn't say how she stole money from the city, but investigators have said they believe she engaged in the affair while she was on city-paid trips and Forrest was on the clock. "There are so many things that captivated people that were following the scandal", Steve Reid said.

But it remains unclear how Barry's resignation could impact public opinion.

Barry, a Democrat, became mayor in 2015.

Barry was to reimburse the city $11,000 as part of the conditional plea. Both BARRY's and FORREST's pleas and sentences were the result of negotiated agreements with the DA's office.

She said nothing illegal happened and no policies were violated. She apologized for her personal failings. Records show the couple separated the day following Barry's admission of the affair.

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The relationship allegedly began in 2016. But soon enough the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was checking into the possibility that the lovers had illegally financed their affair through expense reimbursements for travel on the taxpayer's dime.

When the affair was discovered, critics pointed to the use of public funds to finance work trips for the mayor on which the police sergeant, Robert Forrest, accompanied her. Just over a month ago the mayor admitted to having an affair [VIDEO]with her security detail.

Under the Metro Charter, the election to replace Barry will take place during the August 2 general election.

Barry's resignation would have triggered a stand-alone special election if the next city general election was more than one year away. Councilwoman Sheri Weiner will serve as vice mayor for Briley.

The mayor's willingness to talk about her only son's fatal drug overdose last summer engendered sympathy from residents. Barry also said she hopes her recent actions will not discredit the work she has done for the county.

She kept her remarks brief and smiled throughout the announcement.

The label is also tied to her sponsorship of two pieces of council legislation in particular: one to add nondiscrimination protections for gay, lesbian and transgender Metro workers, and the other to enact a living wage for Metro employees. In 2015, Barry officiated the first same-sex marriage in Nashville's history and worked to "Keep Nashville Moving Forward".

Barry had remained adamant that she will not resign from her position as mayor.

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