Windsor·Q&A

Meet Andrew Teliszewsky, Windsor Mayor's new chief of staff

Mayer Drew Dilkens announced he has a new chief of staff. His name is Andrew Teliszewsky and he replaced long-time chief of staff Norma Coleman.

On day two of his new job, Teliszewsky spoke with CBC's Chris Ensing about his new role

Andrew Teliszewsky is the new chief of staff to Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens' office welcomed a new chief of staff on Monday. 

Andrew Teliszewsky stepped into the role this week, replacing long-time chief of staff Norma Coleman.

Teliszewsky formerly served as chief of staff for Glenn Thibeault, ​Minister of Energy and served as a senior advisor for the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority.

Teliszewsky met with CBC Windsor News at 6 host Chris Ensing on Tuesday to talk more about the job, as well as his goals for the role.

What is the chief of staff role all about? 

The chief of staff to the mayor really is a support function. We're there to help deliver on the mayor's mandate as well as supporting the will of council and ultimately delivering the public services that the community expects.

You come to this with experience at a provincial level. What do you draw on when you look back at your time that you've spent within that government system. 

I'm lucky that I had the chance to work at Queen's Park for a different order of government. And I'm going to bring that skill set to the mayor's office to help him leverage the existing talent that already exists here with the mayor, who obviously is no stranger to municipal politics, democratically elected council and the great team across city hall.

One of the things that's interesting in our community right now is the amount of issues that are coming all at once. FCA and the third shift. The things happening right now at the library, with the Downtown Mission. How do you prioritize what you're coming in with?

As I indicated, the job of the chief of staff is to move the mayor's agenda forward. He has a mandate across the city as a community leader, and so our job as staff across city hall is to help deliver on the will of council and the mandate that the mayor received during the last election. 

What was it that drew you to this job?

I got the chance to get to know the mayor a little bit before taking on this role, and what I was attracted to was his community spirit and his genuine desire to improve the circumstances that his neighbours and peers face — ultimately the residents here in Windsor. 

And so helping him deliver on that mandate was just something that I found exciting and I'm happy to be part of.

You've come into a job that was held by somebody for a number of years. What was what's it like to fill those shoes of Norma Coleman?

That's a fair question. And I appreciate the chance to respond. Coming into a role where the immediate predecessor held that function for 16 years is a tall order. Those are big shoes to fill. I don't plan on being her replacement. I plan on being her successor. 

I'm going to do this job a little bit differently than my predecessor, but that doesn't mean that the way in which she undertook that function is any worse or better. We just are going to have different styles. And ultimately our role is as a support function to the mayor and council. 

You came to Windsor about a year ago. Where's home for you? Where did you go to school?

I was born and raised in the Hamilton-Burlington area.

I have an undergraduate from McMaster University in biology. I flipped that over to Carlton University to do a Master's in public policy and public administration and then spent over a decade at Queen's Park working for a variety of ministers, including Infrastructure, Transportation and then later the Ministry of Energy.

There was a lot of interesting things that happened during that time. What are the moments that stick out for you?

The opportunity in the mid 2000s to work with the federal government to help unlock remaining infrastructure stimulus spending. This was an instance where there was one order of government at Queen's Park and a different party in Ottawa. And what I got to witness were individuals — elected officials, staff — working together to just deliver for the communities that needed that funding, the infrastructure support.

That was really inspiring to me, as somebody who is interested in public administration, to see elected officials leave politics at the door and roll up their sleeves and get stuff done for communities across the province and country. 

Anything that you look at from that time that you would have done differently?

In terms of my role at Queen's Park? I can't think of something.

You have a powerful position, you are pushing forward the mayor's agenda and you are now inside of a city at a very interesting time. In that first year, what stands out for you?

I've reflected a bit on that just in terms of my own relocation.

Windsor seems to be at an inflection point and perhaps it always is going to be at an inflection point. You mentioned some of the economic challenges. But there have been incredible opportunities over the course of the last several years. 

The relocation happening of individuals from the GTA and across Ontario finding Windsor to be an attractive place to live and work. How the municipality and the stakeholders across the community can leverage that talent that is relocating here to really put Windsor on the map.

And I know that's something that the mayor is passionate about and keen on pursuing.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity. 

With files from Chris Ensing

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