Voting is an incredibly important duty as an American—but actual voting has to have taken place in order to effect change.

November is not yet here so no votes have been cast—including for the new Madison County Commissioner seat.

Current board chair, Commissioner David Dhume, is retiring this year, opening one of the three county seats. During the May primary, republican Dr. Tony Xenikis and democrat Ron Roach were voted in as each party’s nominee for commissioner.

Recently, Dr. Xenikis has been present at a couple of the county commissioner meetings, including taking part in some of the topics of discussion. Sitting in on a public meeting is not only a great thing to do, it is encouraged. Citizens, whether they have an interest in local politics or not, should engage with the workings of their local government.

However, in some cases, Dr. Xenikis has been introduced by the commissioners to meeting attendees, as well as being asked to stay for executive sessions—including Tuesday’s session which covered topics of economic development. The atmosphere seems to suggest that Dr. Xenikis is there to learn the ropes and get acquainted with his future position.

The problem is, he does not currently hold that position.

Although Madison County has historically voted a certain way, it is probably best to wait for the election in November before acting as if the decision has been made.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, a public body may include whomever they choose in an executive session; however, bringing Dr. Xenikis into the session presumes his future involvement.

If the opposing candidate for commissioner was also at the meeting as a concerned resident, would he be asked to stay on for executive sessions as well? Dr. Xenikis does a lot with and for the county, particularly in the way of the county fair board, but he is not yet the new commissioner.

You, as the voters of Madison County, need to cast your vote next month so that decisions made in your community are made by you.