A pastor in Nashville, Tennessee, is calling on the city's first female mayor, Megan Barry, to resign after she admitted to having an extramarital affair with her chief of security.
"If the mayor stays in office, those important issues [for Nashville] are put at risk," the Rev. Enoch Fuzz, pastor of Corinthian Baptist Church and a longtime community activist, told WKRN on Tuesday. "Even the big thing about the possibility that the great Amazon company would come here, those kinds of things are put at risk."
"[Think of] the billions of dollars in investments that are being lost right now because we are distracted by this kind of thing. R-e-s-i-g-n. Not to insult, not to hurt, not to condemn, but for the good of all the people who are citizens of the city, including Megan."
Barry, a Catholic who in the past has shot down rumors she is an atheist, admitted the affair with her security chief, Sgt. Rob Forrest, last Wednesday. The affair reportedly began in the summer of 2016.
"Today, I have acknowledged publicly that I have engaged in an extramarital affair with the former head of my security detail," she wrote. "I accept full responsibility for the pain I have caused my family and his. I am so sorry to my husband Bruce, who has stood by me in my darkest moments and remains committed to our marriage, just as I am committed to repairing the damage I have done."
Barry also apologized to the city and admitted to knowing beforehand the type of damage and pain her actions could cause.
"[B]ut I did it anyway," the mayor's statement reads. "I must hold myself to the highest standard of which the voters deserve to expect. Please know that I'm disappointed in myself but also understand that I'm a human and that I made a mistake."
During a press conference last Wednesday, Barry said that the affair was a "serious mistake" but not a "tragedy." She also assured that the affair was "between two middle-aged consenting adults who had feelings for each other."
"I know that God's going to forgive me, but the citizens of Nashville don't have to," she said. "My hope is that I can earn their forgiveness, and I can earn back their trust, and we can do the great work for this city that Nashville deserves."
As the Nashville Patch reports, the admission of the affair also raised questions about the increase in overtime pay Forrest received working for Barry versus the amount of overtime pay he received working under Barry's two male predecessors.
According to Patch.com, Forrest averaged about $34,000 per year in overtime during the last three years of former Mayor Karl Dean's mayorship. But under Barry, Forrest's overtime payments jumped up to around $60,000 in fiscal year 2015-16, and $75,000 in fiscal year 2016-17.
Additionally, travel records indicate that Forrest traveled with Barry as security detail on trips to San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Washington, Greece and France.
The mayor has assured that the overtime hours would have been accrued no matter who was her security detail.
Although Forrest stepped down from the police department last week after 31 years with the Metro Nashville Police Department, Barry has maintained that she will not be resigning over her involvement with Forrest.
Fuzz said that it is important that she "move aside" so that the "world can see that our city is moving ahead."
On Wednesday, an ethics complaint was filed that accuses Barry of letting her affair with a police officer influence her on beliefs pertaining to criminal justice policy.
The complaint was filed by Nashville resident and community activist Theeda Murphy.
"Regardless of whether anyone was aware or actively advocating to influence her decisions regarding any issue of public safety policy which was at odds with the official [police] position, the simple fact is she knew there was at least one officer who could air her dirty laundry at a moment's notice and that fact alone brings into question her ability to be an honest broker in any discussion or consideration of these issues," Murphy wrote, according to The Tennessean.
Barry's spokesperson, Sean Braisted, responded to the claim.
"Mayor Barry has taken policy positions she believes are in the best interest of the entire community based on staff and community input," Braisted said, according to The Tennessean.