TEMPLE TERRACE — Cheri Donohue, the former Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce executive who lost to Frank Chillura in the last mayor's race, will soon be the city's newest City Council member.
Donohue won the position by default since no other candidate had entered the race by last week's qualification deadline. She takes over the position vacated by Alison Fernandez, who had reached her term limit. Fernandez lost her race Aug. 26 for a seat on the Hillsborough County School Board.
Incumbent Temple Terrace council members David Pogorilich and Robert Boss, also unopposed, will serve another four years.
"I'm excited. I'm looking forward to it,'' said Donohue, 65, whose first meeting with the council will be Nov. 18.
Donohue is a retired executive director of the Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce and a longtime community volunteer who was named Temple Terrace Citizen of the Year in 1990. She and her husband, Michael, have been married 44 years and have four children, eight grandchildren and the ninth on the way. The Tampa Catholic High School graduate has lived in Temple Terrace since 1976.
She said she wants to make sure citizens feel comfortable talking to her, so that she gets feedback on all sides of the issues.
"My only agenda is to open my ears and keep them open.''
She will be taking her council seat at a time when it appears the city is about to settle a long-running dispute and part ways with Vlass Temple Terrace, developer of the $150 million Downtown Temple Terrace community of offices, shops, restaurants, residences and a cultural center.
Donohue said she and her colleagues will have to carefully consider the market forces at play in the coming years and make sure that what is built will be successful.
A thriving Downtown Temple Terrace is the key issue for Pogorilich, too.
"I hope that we can put our current problems with our current developer behind us and move on with a new developer to make our vision a reality,'' he said.
He also hopes that in the next four years the city will execute some "smart'' annexations of adjacent territory and will also be able to reduce taxes.
"'I'm very happy to be up here again,'' said Boss, who also welcomes Donohue, noting that she has been involved in city for years and is up on the issues. "She'll be a great addition.''
The essentially voluntary council job pays $3,470 per year.