This weekend will mark Michael Trueman’s 35th birthday and about four months in his new job with the Town of Collingwood.
For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Trueman, 35, Collingwood's accountability, procurement and risk manager.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I was born and raised in Oshawa.
Q: What universities or colleges did you attend?
A: I went to Trent University in Peterborough. I have a bachelor of arts in history.
Q: As of July, you’re the new accountability, procurement and risk manager for the Town of Collingwood. Did you always know or have an interest in risk and ethics?
A: It’s not something I thought a tremendous amount about when I was younger. However, I always liked the idea of being a civil servant, and working for a government.
Before this, I worked for the provincial government.
Through that, I learned a lot about policy, procedures and programs and how those things affect accountability and risk management.
I developed a great appreciation for it.
Q: What made you decide to take the jump from a degree in history to working for the provincial government?
A: After leaving university, I moved to Toronto. An opportunity came up at the Ministry of the Attorney General at their social benefits tribunal. It was a relatively entry-level job doing case administration regarding Ontario Works or disability benefits.
I thought getting a foot in the door with the Ontario government would be a good way to start my career.
From there, I was given opportunities to work on special projects in the corporate services area like procurement and facilities projects.
I grew my career step-by-step. I learned a lot on the job.
Q: What about public service appeals to you?
A: I always like the idea that the people I’m influencing and affecting are the taxpayers; those who are living in the same community where I’m living. I like being accountable to people like that.
The private sector has never really interested me at all.
Q: At what point did you come to Collingwood, and why?
A: My wife and I moved here about a year ago. We moved last October. We were both working from home throughout the pandemic. We were living in a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto with our dog. We talked about where we might like to live, and Collingwood is an excellent place. It has access to a lot of the outdoor activities we like. It seemed like a great, thriving community.
We found a house here, and I applied for the job (with the town) in the first couple of months after we moved here.
I saw the opportunity come up and I had worked in the procurement and policy development world before.
Q: What has it been like making the jump from one level of government to another?
A: It was a really big change for me. The provincial government is enormous.
When moving to a municipal government, people wear multiple hats. You have to be really flexible and quick.
It’s been a really great challenge. I’m four months in, so I’m still learning. (laughs)
Q: Collingwood has had some challenges over the years when it comes to risk management, procurement and accountability, which have come out through the judicial inquiry. As a relative newcomer to the area, what are your first impressions of the situation?
A: I knew about some of the issues before we moved here. I knew that this position was going to directly address some of the issues that came out in that report.
I saw it as a really awesome challenge. I was really excited about the idea that there was this municipality that stood up and wanted to hear about all the things that had happened and all the ways they could have prevented that.
I was really energized by the idea that I could be the person that could help make some of those changes. We’re in a position to be out in front of a lot of the changes that a lot of municipalities should be looking at.
I think a lot of municipalities struggle with things like accountability and procurement.
Q: What kinds of things do you like to do outside of work?
A: (My wife and I) have two dogs that we like to take on hikes. I like to ski and ride my bike – lots of outdoor activities. I also like to hang out and watch movies.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood to know about you?
A: I feel really grateful for the opportunity to have been able to move here and to work here, and be part of the community.
For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email email@example.com.