Original Published on Aug 15, 2022 at 16:34
By Rhythm Rathi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A Saint Andrews man says he was told to “go suck a sausage” by a town bylaw enforcement officer who had parked illegally in a no-parking zone Sunday.
Thomas Wearing says he was waiting in line with his wife Rene outside the SeaBreeze Restaurant & Patio on Sunday around 11 a.m., when he saw a town truck parked in a no-parking zone. When Wearing decided to go and take a picture of the parking job, he says the bylaw enforcement officer, whose truck it was, came back.
“I said, ‘What gives you the right to park in a no-parking area when nobody else is allowed to do?'” Wearing said in an interview Monday, recalling the incident.
“He told me very loudly to go suck a sausage.”
On Sunday, the Wearings posted about their experience on social media in a post that has now gone viral. Shortly after the alleged incident, the Town of Saint Andrews issued a statement acknowledging it was aware of the situation and would be completing a “thorough investigation.”
The bylaw enforcement officer in question remains on duty, town clerk Paul Nopper confirmed Monday. According to the town’s process, Nopper said a third-party independent investigator is to be brought in to do a complete review of the situation and then will make a judgment, providing that information back to town council, as per the town’s employee handbook and resource policy.
Saint Andrews council was expected to discuss further steps in the matter at its Monday night meeting.
“We will be speaking with council tonight about the next steps within the process of what we are going to do following our employee handbook and our human resource policy,” Nopper said ahead of Monday’s meeting.
But Nopper cautioned that people are “not necessarily seeing everything” through the social media post alone.
The Wearings allege the discussion was back and forth with the bylaw enforcement officer and involved several unpleasant comments. Before the officer told him to “go suck a sausage,” Thomas Wearing said the officer pointed toward his badge and said, “This is what gives me the right to do that,” allegedly referring to parking illegally.
According to Nopper, the bylaw enforcement officer was assisting someone whose vehicle had stopped working at the time of the exchange.
But the Wearings say that while the officer claimed to be “busy saving lives, he had a situation,” there were no RCMP officers or firefighters on site, and the town office was also closed. This raises a question, they say, in their minds about whether he decided to park illegally to use the washroom.
Since posting about their ordeal, Rene Wearing says she has received messages from a few other residents concerned about the officer’s behaviour in different situations.
Every situation is different, Nopper said, adding bylaw enforcement is a difficult front-line job within any municipality. He said that the town’s bylaw enforcement officers provide educational lectures, warn about the possibility of tickets and issue tickets based on the bylaws of the town.
“Our staff are doing their job in enforcing and supporting the bylaw enforcement in town.”
This item reprinted with permission from the Telegraph-Journal, Saint John, New Brunswick