Montco minority commissioner lashes out at his colleagues, calling their actions ‘over-reaching’

EAGLEVILLE, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The lone Republican on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners is lashing out at his colleagues over the decision to hold the release of thousands of American flags — initially bought for Memorial Day events — until later this year. 

A day earlier, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh announced that the county would wait until July 4th to distribute the 59,000 flags that are traditionally given to groups to display on gravesites on Memorial Day. 

Republican Joe Gale snapped at his fellow commissioners, saying he’s embarrassed they won’t allow citizens to show that they could responsibly disperse the flags.

“It’s a shame that a totalitarian-style, overreaching nanny state government would prevent them to do so,” he added.

Gale said it’s been a challenge to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, but several weeks into social distancing efforts — with the curve flattened and cases on the decline — he believes it’s time to begin relaxing restrictions. He believes efforts should be focused more on protecting the elderly and residents in long-term care facilities.

As he puts it, the government should be signaling optimism.

“I will now do my best to be a voice for you and push that Montgomery County now start leading in the direction of reopening and ending our lockdowns,” he added.

Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh said they’re not keeping anyone from going to the cemeteries on Memorial Day, but they’re going to wait to distribute the flags until July 4.

She also said she is well aware the restrictions haven’t been easy, but with the important markers trending in the right direction, she said they need to continue to follow science and data.

“We can all wish, if wishing made it so, I would've ended this thing eight weeks and six days ago, but wishing is not going to make it so. This is an illness, it’s a virus we continue to learn about every week,” she said. 

Arkoosh also said as long as the county remains in Gov. Wolf’s red phase, the stay-at-home orders remain.

She added now is the time for businesses to begin planning.“How can they conduct their business and still maintain the appropriate physical distancing to keep their employees safe and to make their customers comfortable enough to come to their business.”