Mr de Jong, who was unsuccessful in his bid to become East Fremantle mayor last year, said that over the Christmas break he realised the community deserved more than a part-time councillor.
Given a new role with Air Services Australia at Jandakot airport, he knew he could not devote the time to council and so made the decision to step down.
‘If I had become mayor my employer knew it would put demands on my time; we had had a discussion about what commitment level it would be and was happy with that,’ he said.
‘But I did not become mayor and an opportunity came along that was not really a choice.’
The tough parts about being a councillor were the demands on his time and being faced with difficult decisions.
‘When you make decisions on council we are never going to please everybody. Not that I felt I let anyone down but sometimes people walk away unhappy,’ he said.
‘You try to wear your heart on your sleeve but it does take a personal toll.’
East Fremantle will hold a by-election to replace the position left vacant by Mr de Jong and fellow former councillor Ian Cope. Chief executive Stuart Wearne said the timing and cost of the election would depend on whether the election was run by the Town or the State Electoral Commissioner.
It was expected that would be decided at the next council meeting.
Mr de Jong said whoever filled those positions would be involved in a crucial time for the Town.
‘There’s still enough experience on council, people who know where we’ve been over the past few years,’ he said.
‘I’d like to see someone with a bit of life experience given the importance of where the town is heading.
‘Hopefully people would be there for the right reasons, so long as people are willing to be there for the benefit of the town.’
He said his relationships from his time on council would continue to be strong and that down the track he may consider some other kind of community service.
‘It was a commitment, fine, but I enjoyed it. Hopefully I was a positive influence and that’s why getting emails of thanks from the CEO, deputy mayor and manager of planning services (when I resigned) was important to me. It just added value to my time on council,’ he said.