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Montgomery County Officials Get Into Heated Debate After Commissioner Accused Of Not Wearing Mask, Observing Social Distancing During Event

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) -- During Monday's Montgomery County COVID-19 briefing, two members of the Board of Commissioners went at it. Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, a Democrat, criticized fellow Commissioner Joe Gale, a Republican, for attending a veteran's event at a cemetery over the weekend and not wearing a mask or observing social distancing.

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The confrontation came after Commissioner Ken Lawrence recently tested positive for COVID-19 and is asymptomatic.

This past Saturday, Gale handed out flags and helped place flags on the graves of veterans at St. Matthew's Cemetery in Conshohocken.

"Commissioner Gale is known to have had direct exposure to someone who is confirmed positive with COVID-19. At this event, he did not have a mask on, he was personally handing them flags with no gloves on and closer than six feet. Commissioner Gale should still be in quarantine," Arkoosh said.

joseph gale Montgomery County
Credit: CBS3

Gale fired back.

"Enough already with the mask shaming and the mask bullying and creating mass hysteria. You don't need a hazmat suit, gloves and a mask to put American flags outdoors at a cemetery," Gale said. "So what you just said was ridiculous."

Gale believes Dr. Arkoosh is trying to scare people.

"So that was an uncalled for cheap shot and attempt to scare the residents of Montgomery County, and I know the residents of Montgomery County have had enough of all this nonsense," Gale said.

Gale says he's been in touch with Commissioner Lawrence, who says he doesn't know of anyone else who has tested positive.

CBS3's Jessica Kartalija contributed to this report.

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