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In Her Words: Nashville Mayor Megan Barry refuses to resign after affair

(Fox 17 News)

Since announcing her affair with head of her security detail, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has spoken through press releases.

Minutes before a public appearance on Thursday, she addressed the news media.

“This has been a tough time for me, for my family and for a lot of other people who have been involved – my staff and a lot of other people that I have disappointed,” Barry said.

She said she is working on her personal life but plans to continue with business as the Mayor of Nashville despite calls to resign.

“‘I was elected to do a job and I’m going to keep doing that job," Barry said. "We’ve done a lot of great things in those two-and-a-half years and my personal failings are not going to get in the way of that robust agenda. We’re going to keep on moving and I’m not resigning."

But it’s not always that easy. Aeriel Ellis, a PR professor and consultant specializes in crisis PR for public figures, says overcoming a PR crisis like the Mayor's affair is difficult but possible. It’s a move she says must be done delicately if the person refuses to resign.

"It is very difficult for a public figure to recover from various issues, particularly a public scandal as such but after a while, the court of public opinion is a little bit more forgiving then we've been in the past," Ellis said.

That time doesn't seem to have come yet. Since announcing her affair with Sgt. Rob Forrest, Barry has continued public appearances and maintained social media activity. Those commenting on Barry’s Twitter page are calling her insensitive and want her to step down. Barry says she’s just trying to make it through.

“What I have tried to do is get up every day and just do the best for Nashville, and I’m going to keep doing that," Barry said.

Meanwhile, the City’s legal department is reviewing an ethics complaint filed against Barry by the Community Oversite Now Coalition. The department is expected to announce its findings in two weeks. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Metro Council are also investigating as whether or not any tax payer money was misused.

While Barry awaits Legal’s report, she said she’ll look to the kindness of those who’ve reached out to her.

“I’ve been really overwhelmed with so much love and support that so many Nashvillians have given to me," Barry said. "I’m grateful, and I think that what they realize is that people who are in positions that I am in are fallible and are human and what they’ve done is share their personal stories with me to and that’s really bolstered me and I’m grateful."

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