Smolik swearing

Mitchell County Board of Supervisors Chair, Stan Walk, (left), administers the oath of office to recently elected District 3 Supervisor, Steve Smolik (right).

OSAGE | At a regularly scheduled meeting for the Mitchell County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Stan Walk exited the board room after a resident requested that those present stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Walk had attempted to stop resident Russ Brandau from leading the recitation, immediately before the start of the meeting Tuesday morning, and then went the adjacent board of supervisors' office once the pledge began. 

The week prior Walk, who is a veteran, raised the issue during a board discussion item about reciting the pledge before meetings because of concern about the legitimacy of the phrase "and justice for all."

Once those final four words were uttered Tuesday morning, Walk re-entered the room and stood next to Mitchell County Attorney Mark Walk.

Mark Walk then informed board chair Steve Smolik if he desired to say the pledge he should use the proper channels of a motion to do so.

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Mark Walk went further and accused Smolik of "playing games with the meeting," which Brandau disputed by saying that, "Our freedom is not a game."

After nearly 30 seconds of silence, Mark Walk said such actions from Smolik would "tear the board apart, tear the community apart and tear the county apart."

Al Winters, who filmed and posted the video, ran for a board of supervisors position in 2018. He lost.

During the entirety of the exchange, a majority of the defense by Brandau and Smolik centered on the fact that the "meeting hadn't started" and that calling for the pledge was an exercising of First Amendment rights.

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