Mayor of Toruń

 

Michał Zaleski
Mayor of Toruń

Experienced, committed, and politically unaffiliated member of the local government. He has been involved in improving the welfare of Toruń and its residents for almost 20 years. He was elected as a councillor in the City of Toruń Council two times (1994–1998 and 1998–2002). Since 2002 he has been continuously holding the most important office in the city. Michał Zaleski won direct presidential election four times, and in three of them he beat his competitors in the first round. As Mayor of Toruń, he works will all local governments, regardless of their political views, since Toruń and its inhabitants are his priority. He values people who are devotedly working for the good of Toruń. He himself, as Mayor of Toruń, consistently strives for the development of the city. The career and social activities of Michał Zaleski are predominantly focused on finding new solutions aimed at the economic, social and civilizational growth of Toruń. The results which he has achieved made the city under his guidance an investment leader (more than 30% of expenditure of the city goes to investments), an efficient organism which functions well and is able to solve developmental and structural problems, including specific expectations of its inhabitants. Over 12 years under the guidance of Mayor Michał Zaleski Toruń has become one of the Poland's most recognisable and most visited cities, which is noticed, valued and appreciated also outside of the country's borders – Toruń as the only Polish city was recognised by lonelyplanet.com., a prestigious tourist portal. It is also noteworthy that under the administration of Michał Zaleski the inhabitants of Toruń are satisfied with life in their city. In the Social Diagnosis, which was prepared by the researches from the University of Finance and Management in Warsaw in 2013, Toruń ranked as high as fourth. The city was ahead of cities such as Cracow, Wrocław or Warsaw.

Independent candidate.
In the 2002 local elections Michał Zaleski was a candidate of Czas na Gospodarza (Time for a Host), an independent election committee. In the second round he won the support of 21,432 inhabitants of Toruń, that is 50.96% of all the voters. In the 2006 elections he ran for election again as an independent candidate. He won in the first round – 70.6% of voters (45,412 votes) voted for Mayor Zaleski. In the 2010 local elections Michał Zaleski once again won in the first round, outpacing his rivals. His score of 65.6% (41,452 votes) was also one of the best in Poland and put him among the top four mayors of Polish cities who have gained the greatest support in the election. In 2014, he again won in the first round with a score of 70.27% (42,756 votes).

Toruń is going up
The city of Nicolaus Copernicus has been continually ranking higher and higher in the national rankings of Polish cities for several years. Development of the economy, efficient use of European funds, investments in technical infrastructure and, at the same time, the lowest expenses in the country on the local government administrations are unquestionably city's assets. Under the administration of Michał Zaleski Toruń performs exceptionally well, inter alia, according to the data presented in the "Miasto przyjazne swoim mieszkańcom" ("A City Friendly Towards Its Inhabitants") and enjoys a very high level of trust of its inhabitants in the local government. Toruń receives many distinctions, including in the area of urban architecture, illumination of objects, promotion and advertising. Thanks to the sustainable development the city can be also proud of awards in the field of ecology and conservation. In this respect, Toruń is the leader of the region and voivodeship. In the "Cities Attractive for Business" ranking which is based on the percentage of growth in the number of large companies, that is the dynamics of the economic growth, the specialists from the "Forbes" monthly have but Toruń among the top cities from 2007 onwards. During the mayoralty of Michał Zaleski Toruń has become the 2008 Leader of Polish Ecology (Lider Polskiej Ekologii 2008), 2008 Fair Play Commune (Gmina Fair Play 2008), and has been awarded "Poland: Now" promotional emblem, and the night panorama of the city has been recognised as one of the seven wonders of Poland; what is more, the City of Toruń Office has been recognised as the cheapest office of all voivodeship cities in Poland several times (2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012).

Leader in investments
Between 2003 and 2012 Toruń allocated more than PLN 2.24 billion to investments. The largest amount of money is spent on road infrastructure, sports facilities, water supply and sewerage system, and education. By implementing his election manifesto and tasks of the local government, Mayor Zaleski attaches great weight to road investments. Under his rule exit roads from the city have been extensively modernised, Podgórze intercity road (Gen. Władysława Andersa Street) and a connection between Toruń and the A1 motorway were built. 2010 was the year in which the largest and most important investment in Toruń was commenced, namely the construction of the second road bridge over the Vistula River. The bridge will be soon commissioned. The construction of the northern intercity route which was long awaited by drivers began in 2013. The route will facilitate a smooth movement through Toruń along the east/west axis. Ten years of consistent development and modernisation of the road network of Toruń creates a good perspective for attracting new investors and new jobs in the city and on its outskirts. Thanks to the connection to the A1 motorway and new road bridge over the Vistula River, over which the route of the current national road no. 91 will be running, Toruń will strengthen its importance as a vital transport hub on the map of Poland.

Mayor Zaleski also attaches particular importance to the construction of new and adaptation of municipal and social housing Between 2006 and 2011 the city gained 717 premises in this way. Moreover, an action programme in this area until 2014 has been adopted. Since 1997 Toruńskie Towarzystwo Budownictwa Społecznego (Toruń Society for Social Housing Construction) has been successfully operating in Toruń. Since then, the Society has built approx. 1.1 thousand flats for rent and more than 100 flats in the developers' system. The total area of those premises reaches almost 52 thousand sq m. As one of the few societies in Poland, TTBS implements the last investments involving a preferential loan granted by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego.

An impressive progress can be observed in the area of education, sports and cultural investments. The most important investments projects are: the construction of a sports and entertainment hall which seats more than 6 thousand people in Bema Street, construction of the congress and concert centre in Jordanki (Centrum Kulturalno- Kongresowe Jordanki), extension of the 5th High School, construction of new schools in the area of Koniuchy and Bielawy-Grębocin housing estates and a swimming pool next to School No. 14. Tor-Tor, an artificial ice rink has been modernised and extended. The modernisation of the city stadium was completed, and a modern gymnasium and an underground car park were built next to the 4th High School. It was on the initiative of the city's authorities that MotoArena, one of the most modern speedway stadiums in the world, which was officially opened in May 2009, was erected. In the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Region Toruń is an undisputed leader in the "My sports field – ORLIK 2012" ("Moje boisko – Orlik 2012") programme with 24 commissioned sports facilities of such type. The rebuilt "Baj Pomorski" puppet theatre has become one of the architectural flagship venue of Toruń. The Centre of Contemporary Art (Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej) was opened in June 2008, and currently the adaptation works on the building of the Richter's Mill are in progress. The building will house the "Mill of Knowledge" Centre of Modernity (Centrum Nowoczesności "Młyn Wiedzy"), Toruń Technology Incubator (Toruński Inkubator Technologiczny) and International Meeting Centre for Young People (Międzynarodowe Centrum Spotkań Młodzieży). The monumental old town, the heart and flagship of Toruń, shines brightly. It was renovated with the support of EU funds. Its beauty attracts more than 1.6 million tourists each year.

Authority open to residents
Mayor Michał Zaleski has also changes the organisation of the work of the City Office. The Mayor has established Information Points of the City Office which serve as district citizen service offices. The points are friendly to the residents, including mothers with children, for whom special play areas for children have been prepared. Since 2011, thanks to the TORUŃ SMS system implemented by the City Office each resident of Toruń can receive information about the city, including the information about roads, detours, public transport, and sports or cultural events, in the form of short text messages (SMSs).

It was on the initiative of Michał Zaleski that in Toruń the Investor Service Office started operating and the so-called "window of entrepreneurship" was opened, in which investors may receive support or information on the possibility of investing in our city.

Michał Zaleski, as the Mayor, talks with the inhabitants of Toruń. On his own initiative, he meets with the residents of all thirteen housing estates of Toruń once a year. The proposals submitted at those meetings are taken into consideration when planning the city's budget and investments for the next year. The inhabitants of Toruń, as one of the first in the country, can also submit their ideas and projects to be implemented under the participatory budget created on the initiative of the city's authorities.

Michał Zaleski was born in Kamień near Jabłonowo Pomorskie on 14 July 1952. He graduated from the faculty of Geography at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń and Organization and Management Postgraduate Studies at the University of Warsaw. Before he assumed the office of the Mayor of Toruń, he was the President of the Youth Housing Association, the largest in Toruń, for 16 years.

Michał Zaleski is married and has two adult children - Monika and Jakub and two granddaughters – Marcysia and Magdalenka. He willingly spends his free time working on an agricultural plot and sailing is also his passion.

Mayor Michał Zaleski has received awards and titles such as:

  • Krzyż Kawalerski Orderu Odrodzenia Polski (Knight's Cross of the Order of Rebirth of Poland) which he was awarded in 2005
  • "Cor Bonum" Caritas of the Diocese of Toruń in 2005
  • Man of the Year 2007 awarded by Forbes
  • the 2007 Grzegorz Palka Award
  • "Merentibus" Medal of Merit for the Association of Art Historians.