Hyam may seek legal action

Former Newcastle City Council general manager Lindy Hyam says her administration has been vindicated by external audits released this week, but believes her reputation will be permanently damaged by the events that led to her resignation.

Ms Hyam, who has not spoken publicly since her shock decision to leave the council in November, told the Newcastle Herald yesterday she might consider legal action over public comments made last year.

‘‘I’d be mad not to think about [legal action],’’ Ms Hyam said.

‘‘There is reputational damage that’s on the internet forever and on the record forever.

‘‘I want the record cleared. I gave my heart and soul to the council and the community and I believe I’m entitled to that.’’

Four external audit reports, instigated by Ms Hyam, each found that the council acted appropriately in a number of controversial dealings.

The audits related in part to allegations aired on a Stateline report on ABC television and public statements made by Lord Mayor John Tate.

Cr Tate was forced to apologise to Ms Hyam and senior staff over comments he made to NBN television in July over surf club funding.

The comments, according to a council report, ‘‘implied that the general manager may have acted inappropriately’’.

Ms Hyam confirmed rumours she had not worked since leaving the council, saying she needed ‘‘time to recover’’.

Cr Tate made a brief comment yesterday.

‘‘I have a letter from the former GM saying she was leaving because she got another job,’’ Cr Tate said.

Cr Tate said Cr Michael Osborne had also criticised planning processes in the Stateline report.

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