SAINT JOHN -- The Saint John Police Association has filed a code of conduct complaint against a city councillor over comments he made about city police and firefighters.

The group is slamming his statements as "inappropriate, offensive, insulting and derogatory" and calling for him to be removed as chair of the finance committee.

Police union president Duane Squires says the union wants David Merrithew, the chair of the city's finance committee, removed, citing numerous alleged violations of the city's code of conduct.

"His comments, I believe, are very self-serving, and they have no merit and there needs to be a repercussion for him, speaking out this way," Squires said.

Merrithew's comments were recently published in a local newspaper. Merrithew stated that taxpayers paid more than $800,000 to employ two police officers and two firefighters last year.

Merrithew is quoted as saying "these people are just making too much. They're greedy. They don't care about our city."

The police association says it's not true that any individual police officer was paid over $200,000 in 2018.

"The sections that are in the act are very clear, and Mr. Merrithew has violated numerous ones of them, because of the way he distorted those figures and made those derogatory comments," said Bob Davidson of the New Brunswick Police Association.

Merrithew was unavailable for an interview, but did give this statement to CTV News: "I'm tired of having to cut city services to manage unrealistic wage increases, and I feel every time I do it, I'm taking from the have-nots and giving to the haves."

Coun. Gary Sullivan says the city is in the middle of a very important conversation about finances.

"Our employees make the city run, we respect the work they do, we just need to have a conversation about how much we can afford," Sullivan said.

On that front, the police association argues that there are better ways to save money than going after the police.