Commander Hutton grew up in Owen Sound and left to join the navy where he spent the first seven years of his career serving as an Electronics Technician aboard navy ships. He was selected for a commissioning program and sent to study engineering at Royal Military College. He graduated at the top of his class and was selected for the navyís prestigious Post Graduate on Scholarship program. He pursued graduate studies at the University of Victoria where his research project was sponsored by Defence Research Pacific and involved tracking submarines underneath the ice in the Canadian Arctic.
Commander Hutton served in a number of units both at sea and in National Defence Headquarters during his 30 year career in uniform. His service included deployment to the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War. His final assignment was as the Commanding Officer of a ship building project detachment on the west coast where he was responsible for the completion and operational trials of five newly constructed warships.
Upon his retirement he studied business at Royal Roads University where he earned a Masterís Degree (MBA). His graduate studies included a research project focused on reducing the cost of municipal services. His graduate thesis demonstrated the tremendous cost savings available to government through the amalgamation of small municipalities.
Commander Hutton then entered the world of post-secondary administration where he gained a reputation for bringing a business focus and sound fiscal management to public institutions. As a Director at Seneca College in Toronto he introduced a number of efficiency and cost savings initiatives that enhanced service delivery while reducing costs. His success as an innovative financial manager and business developer was rewarded when he was selected to be the Vice President, Finance and Administration at Cambrian College. While in this position he was responsible for an $85 million budget and had six service delivery departments in his portfolio. When he arrived, the college was literally on the financial rocks due largely to severe cut backs in government grants and inefficient service delivery models. He introduced a number of initiatives aimed at improving the collegeís financial health. These included streamlining service delivery models, closing redundant and inefficient departments and outsourcing non-core activities.
After a 15 year career in post-secondary administration Commander Hutton retired for the second time and chose to return to Owen Sound. He was somewhat surprised when he returned after a 50 year absence. Owen Sound was no longer the thriving municipality he remembered. His first impression was that his home town was struggling. A once bustling main street was quiet and populated with several empty store fronts. Most of the industries and major employers he remembered were gone. The city appeared to be stagnating. During his absence Owen Sound had grown by only a few thousand residents which represented an annual growth rate of less than 0.2%. This renewed his interest, from his business studies, in municipal financial management and in part resulted in this discussion paper.