Michael Duben during his address at the Kent Federation of Agriculture regional meeting. Image taken by Emily Putnam.

Members of Chatham-Kent’s agriculture community got their first introduction to the municipality’s incoming Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michael Duben on Thursday.

About 40 people attended the Kent Federation of Agriculture (KFA) Regional Meeting for Kent County on Aug. 4. at Roesch Meats & More for a meal and discussions on agricultural issues.

Upcoming CAO for the municipality of Chatham-Kent Michael Duben attended as the guest speaker and discussed his plans for when his term commences next month.

He hopes to help Chatham-Kent strengthen its community and work to melt the rural-urban divide within the county.

When asked about plans regarding the ongoing discussions on the proposed woodlot cutting bylaw, Duben says he has more to learn but wants to make sure each party feels heard.

“It’s just listening, talking, sorting it through and trying to find out both sides. Making sure everybody’s dealing with fact, and recognizing that not everybody’s always going to get their way but they a least deserve a say, an opportunity to speak up and be heard,” says Duben.

Duben comes by way of Oxford County, where he currently serves as CAO. He also has CAO experience working for the District Municipality of Muskoka for seven years, a senior corporate law partner in Windsor, and various roles within the City of Windsor.

He says his experience with provincial issues has well-prepped him for his upcoming responsibilities in Chatham-Kent.

“Most municipalities in Ontario are dealing with the same issues, and for me, a lot of what I think I’m going to face here is not new,” says Duben. “I’ve faced it elsewhere, and that’s also an opportunity because it means I will be able to hopefully hit the ground running.”

Duben’s tenure as CAO is set to begin Sept. 8. Tony Haddad will remain on in an interim role until then.