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Nashville Mayor Megan Barry ensnared in scandal involving affair and possible favoritism

Last Wednesday, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry admitted to having an extramarital affair with Nashville Police Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr., the head of her security detail until his resignation Jan. 17. Barry, a Democrat, and Forrest are both married, and their affair apparently began in the spring of 2016, just months after she took office. On Tuesday, USA Today reported that Barry had also recommended Forrest's daughter, Macy Amos, for a job in the city's legal department. Amos got the job in January 2016.

Amos, by all accounts, was qualified for the entry-level job — a recent law school graduate, she had interned with the two previous Nashville mayors as well as the sheriff's office, and clerked at the Davidson County Circuit Court — and Metro Law Department Director Jon Cooper said it was his decision to hire her, not Barry's. "The mayor did recommend Macy during a meeting I had with her at some point, as did a number of people in the legal community," Cooper told USA Today. Amos, 26, was the "logical choice" for the job, he added.

A spokesman for mayor, Sean Braisted, said that "Barry was not having an affair with Sgt. Forrest when Macy Amos was interviewed, hired, or started working for Metro," and "Amos is an exemplary employee who earned her job because of her qualifications and passion for Metro Government." Government ethics experts say the situation is murky but problematic. "We will never know if she was hired on her own merits or not," Columbia Law School professor Richard Briffault said of Amos. "That's why we have ethics. There need not have been anything improper here at all, but now there's a cloud."