Members of special committee to investigate Mayor Barry's affair announced, meeting set
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —
The members of a special committee tasked with investigating Nashville Mayor Megan Barry's affair have been announced and an initial meeting has been scheduled.
The group's main job is to figure out how much taxpayer money, if any, was used to fund the romance between Mayor Barry and Sgt. Rob Forrest, her former head of security.
"There's no guidance in the charter for these investigations and there's no action they can take," Metro Director of Law Jon Cooper said.
Cooper said the seven council members picked can gather information, but that's really all they can do. They have no power to charge Barry or force her to resign. The committee will meet for the first time on Thursday.
It's one of three investigations into the affair, which include an investigation from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation prompted by the Nashville DA and another by the Metro Department of Law into the ethics complaint filed against Barry by the Community Oversite Now Coalition. The department has 14 days to reveal its findings from the review.
"The committee is a public body," Cooper said. "It's council members so their business and their meetings are public. So they can make findings and they can make recommendations, but there's not any disciplinary action they can take."
The resolution to form the special committee passed just barely last week by getting the 30 votes needed but no more. Members opposed questioned whether such a force is really necessary with the TBI already looking into possible criminal activity.
The main difference lies in the fact that state findings by the TBI are confidential, but the special committee's work looking into overtime, travel and other budget expenses related to the affair will be public.
"That's what's so important about this," said Jim Schulman, At-large Metro Council member. "It will all be open, and people can see what the council can see."
Schulman isn't on the committee but said he feels good about the group Vice Mayor Briley chose.
"In looking at the seven who were selected, I think it's a very fair group; four women, three men, some who voted to have this committee and some who voted not to have the committee," Schulman said.
Vice Mayor David Briley announced the following members will investigate Barry's affair:
- Councilmember At-Large Erica Gilmore
- Councilmember At-Large Bob Mendes
- Councilmember Robert Swope
- Councilmember Burkley Allen
- Councilmember Mina Johnson
- Councilmember Russ Pulley
When asked what they think about the members selected, a spokesperson for the mayor's office just said the mayor welcomes any and all investigations and will cooperate and provide whatever information is needed.
Barry admitted to an affair with Sgt. Rob Forrest, who has since resigned. FOX 17 News learned he will receive $80,000 per year in pension.
Barry says she refuses to resign following the affair. 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 said she’s just trying to make it through.