The Saint John Police Association says it has filed a code of conduct complaint against Coun. David Merrithew after he publicly criticized a handful of first responders for making more than $200,000 in 2018.
“The chairman of the city’s finance committee, Coun. David Merrithew, publicly stated ‘these people are making too much, they’re greedy, they don’t care about our city,'” Duane Squires, president of the Saint John Police Association, told a news conference Thursday.
Squires said in addition to filing the complaint, the association is calling for the councillor’s removal from his position as chair of the city’s finance committee.
The comments are “misleading,” according to Squires, partially due to budget cuts made by the financially-strapped city.
Merrithew, who represents Ward 4, declined a request for an interview but in a brief statement told Global News that he is “tired of cutting services in order to fund ridiculous wage demands.”
The statement goes on to say, in part, “Saint John Firefighters volunteered more than 2,000 hours in 2018 helping to raise tens of thousands of dollars for programs directly affecting citizens in SJ.”
The comments have caused plenty of controversy and even the city’s deputy mayor is among those pushing back. Shirely McAlary says the comments were offside and don’t look good on the city, especially with police and fire contracts up at the end of 2019.
“I think the comments were completely out of place,” she says.
“To me, it’s just so disrespectful.”
However, she says it’s doubtful Merrithew would face any code of conduct disciplinary action as a result of the comments.
The police association’s full letter to council can be found here.