Mayor-elect Olivia Chow names chief of staff, sets priorities ahead of taking office

Mayor-elect Olivia Chow has appointed a chief of staff and established three immediate priorities as she prepares to take the reigns at City Hall in less than two weeks’ time.

City Hall veteran Michal Hay, who spearheaded Chow’s election campaign, has been named her chief advisor. Hay previously served as chief of staff for councillor Mike Layton and was recently the executive director of Progress Toronto.

“Michal’s dedication to this city, to bringing people together to drive change, is unmatched. Her leadership style and experience at City Hall is a perfect fit with my own approach to governing. I’m proud to have her as my chief of staff, building and leading an exceptional Mayor’s Office team,” Chow said in a statement.

Chow also outlined her plans for a “people-focused” approach to transition by bringing in front-line experts, community leaders and the civil service to define possible solutions to the three immediate priorities she plans to focus on upon taking the chain of office on July 12: affordable housing and economic opportunities; community crisis response; and supportive housing and wrap-around services.

Chow says she plans to call for an early and special meeting of the Executive Committee in August to deal with pressing matters such as the Long Term Financial Plan, which will then be discussed at the regularly scheduled special meeting of City Council on September 6.

The former NDP parliamentarian and past city councillor beat out 101 other candidates to win the mayoral byelection on Monday night, a victory that marks a high point in a career that has included decades of work in Toronto politics.

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