Nashville, TN (WZTV) -- Nashville Mayor Megan Barry announced her resignation during a news conference Tuesday morning moments after pleading guilty to felony theft stemming from an investigation into her admitted affair.
She served as Nashville’s mayor for two-and-a-half years.
“My unwavering love and sincere affection for this amazing city and its great city will never come to an end,” Barry said in a statement.
Barry pleaded guilty to felony theft over $10,000 for "unlawful expenditures" and agreed to reimburse the city $11,000 an hour before she made her announcement. Barry will serve three years probation and has the chance to have her record expunged in three years.
Her resignation comes a month after admitting an affair with the former head of her Metro Police security detail Sgt. Rob Forrest. Forrest also pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony theft and must repay the city $45,000.
During her announcement, Barry thanked the heads of her department and the “thousands and thousands” of people who have supported her, written her and grieved with her during these “trying times.”
As this unfolds, Nashvillians are about to decide on a massive transit plan proposed by Barry. The $8.9 billion transit plan will be on the May 1 ballot for Davidson County voters. It includes the city’s first light rail system and a downtown tunnel.
Barry ended the news conference saying, “God bless this wonderful city, I love you Nashville.”
Here's a transcript of her full statement:
No one is as excited about this city and its bright and limitless future as I am.
Nashville, with its boundless energy, its infectious optimism, it has never encountered an obstacle it couldn’t overcome attitude, will in the years ahead continue its steady march toward the very top of the list of great American cities.
It’s a continued climb that I will watch, but I will watch as a private citizen and I will be tremendously proud nonetheless.
While today is primarily about the smooth transition from my administration to that of Vice Mayor Briley's, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge and thank the thousands and thousands of people who have reached out to me, written me, encouraged me, comforted me, worried endlessly about me, grieved with me and prayed for me during these many difficult and trying months.
In two-and-a-half short years, we have made tremendous strides and progress on affordable housing and transit, public education, youth opportunity, quality of life and our economy, and none of this, not one thing, would have happened without my incredible staff, our talented department heads, and all of the dedicated men and women at the metropolitan government who get up every day and make the lives of Nashvillians just a little bit better.
They got up yesterday and they got up today and they're going to get up tomorrow and they're going to make sure that our city continues to sing. And I sincerely hope and believe that my own actions will not tarnish or otherwise detract from all of the great work that they do. It has been my honor and it has been the privilege of my entire professional life to have the blessing and the opportunity to be your mayor.
I thank you in advance for the support that I am sure you will give Mayor Briley in the weeks and the months ahead.
God bless this wonderful city. I love you, Nashville.
Country stars and Nashville media members took to twitter to express their thoughts on Barry's resignation:
I get why it had to be this way, but I’m very sad Megan Barry is resigning. As the mayor of Music City, she always came to shows. Years ago, she and Sgt. Forrest helped me by taking care of a really terrifying stalker issue I had. I felt safer as an artist in Nashville.— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) March 6, 2018
Megan Barry's conduct was irresponsible and dishonorable, and resigning is the correct resolution here, but watching this story be amplified in the media solely on the basis of her having an affair with her bodyguard is incredibly disgusting.— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) March 6, 2018