ORONO — Piscataquis County violated the state’s open meeting law when it adopted a resolution that misled the public about the coronavirus pandemic, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine said Wednesday.

The Piscataquis County Commission’s resolution objected to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ pandemic executive orders. Public health authorities in the state, including Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah, have characterized the statement as full of errors about the pandemic.

The resolution made a discredited claim that face coverings cause pneumonia and respiratory disease, causing “far worse devastation to the populace than the virus itself.” The ACLU of Maine said the resolution was also adopted in secret, which is against state rules.

“The Piscataquis County Commissioners 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,” ACLU of Maine legal director Emma Bond said.

A request for comment was left with The Piscataquis County Commission.

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