Saint John Police Association President Duane Squires says he’s accepted that the force will need to make $1.3 million in budget cuts — but he’s not done talking about the provincially-funded Ernst & Young report that proposed the slash in the first place.
In an interview with Global News Monday, the city’s mayor, Don Darling, said parties like the police union have been questioning the report since it was adopted in the spring.
“I think there’s been a lot of misinformation that’s been provided to the public,” Darling said.
Squires took issue with the mayor’s comment.
“As a police officer, credibility means something. Not sure that it does in the mayor’s office,” he says.
“If the mayor would like to point fingers, do it directly. We’ve got broad shoulders.”
Darling did not name the Saint John Police Union in the initial interview but stood by his comments following Squires’ pushback.
“I think my comments stand,” he says.
“There seems to be some level of infatuation — it’s quite unhealthy, actually — with the union and the mayor’s office.”
Squires says the force is in a better position to meet the cut requirements than it was in the spring, thanks to retirements and voluntary departures, but says the new police chief will need to further familiarize himself with the operation before making calls.
The force was given until the end of 2020 to make the necessary cuts, as Saint John braces for deficits upwards of $10 million in 2021 and 2022.