TARGET: Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes has come under fire from her Liberal opponents on council in recent weeks. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

HERE is what I think is happening inside City Hall.

The first thing you need to know is that if allegations of bullyingand concerns about expenditure on overseas travel were part of Lisa Tierney’s motivation for quitting the council, I don’t think theywereher only motivation.

That doesn’t make sense. If you’re a politically-minded person worried about the direction of the council, wouldn’t you use your position to try to change that?

Isn’t that the whole reason people stand for elected government?

I would have liked to have asked Ms Tierney about this, but she didn’t return calls on Wednesday.

Even if the alleged bullying and overseas travel had become too much for her to bear witness to, the realityis that a lot of people in the Liberal Party have assumed for a while that she wasn’t going to run again.

She has a time-consuming job withCompass Housing and it’s maybe fair to say that, in that context, council wasn’t her first priority.

The low meeting attendance record across 2015and 2016kind of hints to that.

The second thing to consideris whetherher grievances with the Lord Mayor are genuine concerns,or whether it’s justsabre rattling by the Liberal councillors knowing that there’s an election later this year.

The answer, predictably, is both.

Warranted or not (and I have no idea whetherit is) Nuatali Nelmes has a reputation for being difficult to work with,andstories persist about staff not liking her.

Cr Nelmes, of course, denies this.

And the overseas travel is obviously all on the record. In this term Cr Nelmes has traveled toGeneva, the United States and Singapore.

Whether you think that’s something a lord mayor should be doing or not is probably a question for you.

But so what is at the heart of all this? What’s the real story?

This is one of those annoying times as a reporterwhen what youknow is not what youcan write.

But it’s probably OK for me to posit that the reason Cr Nelmes’ scandalous (and I say that with my tongue firmlyensconced in my cheek) $270(!) childcare billis on the front page of a certain Sydney-based News Corporation journal of recordhas less to do with like civic virtue or whatever and more to do with who certain people might like to be the next lord mayor of Newcastle.

And I can say this, too:there’s a reason Ms Tierney said she was “most concerned” about the hiring of a new chief executive.

So far what you’ve heard is that a random“elderly bloke” from Belmont told Alan Robinson that the selection process was rigged.

The reality is the Liberals –and others –believe there’s more to it than that.

The reason you haven’t read more about is that no one has any actual, you know,proof.

The office of local government is set to report on it as early as next week.

I guess we’ll all find out then.

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