Nashville Mayor Megan Barry resigned on Tuesday shortly after pleading guilty to felony theft. Barry agreed to reimburse the city $11,000 and was sentenced to three years probation as part of a plea deal.
Barry touted her accomplishments in her farewell address to the city.
“None of this would have been possible without my incredible staff, our talented department heads, and all of the dedicated men and women of the Metropolitan Government who have worked hard to make the lives of Nashvillians a little better each day. They got up yesterday, they got up today, and they will get up again tomorrow devoted to making sure our city sings,” she said.
“It has been the honor and it has been the privilege of my entire professional life to have had the blessing of this opportunity to be your mayor.”
Barry’s term came to an abrupt end shortly after she admitted to having an extramarital affair with her police bodyguard, Sgt. Robert Forrest, which included extended business trips with just the two of them.
Forrest also plead guilty to felony theft, and has agreed to repay the city of Nashville $45,000.
Forrest retired from the police department shortly before the Mayor made the public announcement about the affair.
Former Vice Mayor, David Briley, was sworn in Tuesday night at council and will now take over mayoral duties.
“I met with the mayor’s staff earlier today and I told them how little I wanted to be there to meet with them, and how little any of us wanted to be here today,” Briley said while addressing the council at their weekly Tuesday night meeting.
“This day presents a unique challenge for me and my family, but also for the council and for anybody who works for metro government. I will work my heart out to meet this challenge and I ask you all to join me and do the same.”
Speaker Pro Tempore, Councilwoman Sheri Weiner, was sworn in as vice mayor to replace Briley.
After being sworn in, Weiner said: “The sadness that I feel on this occasion is deeply profound and enormously sobering. The citizens of our great city can take comfort and solace in knowing that our founding documents, the Metro charter and our code of laws, are resilient touchstones of our local government and have withstood the test of time and adversity.”
Despite the guilty plea, a special Nashville Metro Council committee tasked with investigating the possible misuse of taxpayer funds by Mayor Barry, says it will still continue—albeit on a more limited basis.
According to Councilman Bob Mendes: “Unless we can answer what is the mechanism of the theft and we are sure what is the scope of it, and we’ve fixed whatever we need to fix in terms of checks and balances and policy—then there is still a job to do for this committee. I certainly feel that the committee should continue forward.”
A special election has been set for August to elect a new mayor. Briley, who ran for mayor 11 years ago and lost, remains non-committal on whether or not he plans to seek election for the position.