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Saint John Police Association questions aspects of city audit

Click to play video 'Provincially ordered audit of Saint John’s book deepening rift' Provincially ordered audit of Saint John’s book deepening rift
WATCH: As Saint John Common Council continues to debate budget cuts—a provincially ordered audit of the city’s books seems to be deepening a rift between the mayor’s office and the police union. Travis Fortnum has more.

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.

Read more: Saint John to make budget cuts to police, fire and transit services in 2021

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.

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“If the mayor would like to point fingers, do it directly. We’ve got broad shoulders.”

Click to play video 'Head of Saint John Police Association calling on province’s support' Head of Saint John Police Association calling on province’s support
Head of Saint John Police Association calling on province’s support

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.

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