Yesterday the three Commissioners of Piscataquis County signed a Resolution of Protest condemning the COVID-19 policies that Governor Janet Mills instituted and stating that these policies should be lifted.
The Resolution of Protest alleged that the Governor’s policies defy our two constitutions. It also charged that “face coverings and lock-downs only worsen and lengthen the time of the virus.” And that face masks cause respiratory disease and pneumonia, with far worse devastation to the populace” than the COVID-19 causes.
No evidence or proof was offered by the Commissioners on their allegations.
Such an unscientific and factually incorrect Resolution was bound to attract critics from the Dover-Foxcroft community. And it did. However, chair of the Commission James White muzzled those critics.
Today the ACLU of Maine issued a press release charging the Commissioners with “violating Maine’s open meeting law when it voted and adopted the Resolution in secret. The Resolution, which contains misinformation about the coronavirus, called on Governor Mills to end pandemic restrictions put in place to curb the spread of a deadly virus,” said its press release.
“The Bangor Daily News” reported that the Commissioners went on to silence voices critical of the resolution who attended the commissions meeting over Zoom yesterday and blocked more than 100 people attending the meeting over Zoom from hearing the proceeding.
“The government is accountable to the people. Open meeting rules safeguard this principle. The Piscataquis County Commission deliberately violated the Maine Freedom of Access Act and struck at the core value of public oversight of government action when they passed a resolution in secret, silenced critical voices and blocked remote attendees from hearing the proceedings.
“Maine law requires that any person be able to attend a public meeting of local or state government. This requirement did not evaporate with pandemic restrictions, when lawmakers modified the Freedom of Access Act to all remote meetings,” according to Emma Bond, legal director at the ACLU of Maine.
“I am awaiting further direction of what the Commissions would like me to do from here. We are just holding a signed copy here at the office for the time being,” wrote Michael Williams, County Manager, in an email to mhn.com, about the next steps and future of the Resolution.
Please visit two previous posts herein dated January 17, 2021 on the Resolution. One is a response from Governor Mills’ office on the Resolution.