ALAN FERRIS will step down as East Fremantle mayor on June 30.
The 46-year-old, married with two young daughters, was recently appointed acting director-general of the WA culture and the arts department and said it had become impossible to juggle civic, family and work commitments.
“When my daughter said to me ‘Daddy, now you will have more time to do homework with me’, I knew I had made the right decision,” Mr Ferris says.
On July 1 deputy mayor Alex Wilson will become acting mayor until a new leader is chosen by voters at the October 19 elections.
Mr Ferris says his departure will not affect the power-balance on a council that is largely “faction-free”.
“We do argue and debate passionately on issues, but on a whole we are a pretty harmonious bunch,” he says.
“During my time as mayor, I’m proud to have overseen the Leeuwin boat ramp upgrade, the rejuvenation of our parks, and paved the way for the multi-million dollar revamp of the town centre.”
Elected mayor in 2007 he wouldn’t be drawn on who he wanted to succeeded him. The Herald understands Cr Barry de Jong, elected in 2007, is keen to throw his hat in the ring and Cr Wilson, elected in 2005, is considering running.
Neither returned calls.
With council amalgamations looming, the historic tiny shire of 4989 electors is likely to be swallowed by either Fremantle or Melville, over the strong opposition of citizens and the council.
“East Freo residents are fiercely independent and we would like things to remain that way,” Mr Ferris says.
“A recent council survey attracted 1200 responses, which illustrates the level of passion in the town.”
by STEPHEN POLLOCK