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Temple Terrace hires a local man as city manager

TEMPLE TERRACE — The City Council has hired the head of Tampa Bay Water as its new city manager.

Gerald Seeber got the nod after the council's first two picks for the job bowed out.

"I'm absolutely thrilled,'' Seeber said this week.

He expects to start work in Temple Terrace at the end of April.

Seeber has more than 25 years' experience as a city manager, including stints in New Port Richey and Oviedo, near Orlando. He said he had missed the pace and give-and-take of city government during his five years as general manager of Tampa Bay Water, supplier of wholesale water to governments in the Tampa Bay area.

Temple Terrace Mayor Frank Chillura said he and the council are excited about Seeber.

"He has a lot of great ideas, lots of good leadership and management skills,'' Chillura said. "The future looks bright, very bright.''

Seeber, 59, who will be paid $135,000 annually, replaces longtime city manager Kim Leinbach, who is retiring. The City Council voted to negotiate with Seeber when two candidates from Arizona dropped out. The first candidate, Jeff Mihelich, assistant city manager of Surprise, Ariz., told council members he had to decline the offer because his daughter wanted to finish high school in Arizona. The second candidate, Dana Hlavac, deputy county manager for Mohave County, Ariz., could not provide a commitment in the time period the council had set, Chillura said.

"We needed to move on,'' the mayor said.

Seeber said he was "perfectly okay'' with being the third choice, adding that in the public search for city managers, such a situation is not unusual.

Seeber served as city manager of Oviedo from 2004 to 2008 and New Port Richey from 1988 to 2004. Seeber served as village manager of Brown Deer, Wis., from 1982 to 1988.

He graduated from Marquette University in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in political science and earned a postgraduate degree in public administration from Pennsylvania State University in 1978. The new manager said that while Temple Terrace, like all Florida cities, suffered from the recession, the city's tax base was strong.

"My job is to work with the City Council to push forward the city's strategic initiatives.''

Seeber said he and his wife, Denise — parents of four grown children — are planning to put their Safety Harbor home on the market and move to Temple Terrace. He had informed Tampa Bay Water board members earlier this year that he was looking for a job in city government, he said, so this move was not a surprise to them.

Chillura said Seeber's knowledge of water issues will be a boon to Temple Terrace, and he has a good working relationship with a number of officials in the Tampa Bay area.

"I know that's going to help us.''

Philip Morgan can be reached at or (813) 226-3435.