In an Almanac interview, he explained that the timing is good, since the city recently completed several major projects and Interim City Manager Glen Rojas is also leaving.
Mr. Johnson doesn't have another position lined up, but is taking time off to figure out what he wants to do next, either in the public or private sector. He said he won't be leaving Menlo Park.
"It's been a very rewarding job for me. I feel I am valued at the city. And it's not easy to disengage and move on. It takes courage to do this kind of thing without a safe spot to land," he said.
His time in office included developing the city's business development strategic plan and attracting and retaining numerous firms to Menlo Park, such as the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel and Spa, Marriott Hotel in the Menlo Gateway project, Facebook, Ace Hardware, Amici's, Pendleton, and more.
Along with those high points, there must have been some low points, but Mr. Johnson couldn't readily remember any, besides seeing other colleagues leave. "I'm not a person who focuses on the low points," he admitted. "I'm such a positive person, and I really meant what I said about the privilege of public service."
He described Mr. Rojas's departure as a "strong motivating force," and said that, along with his own resignation, gives incoming city administrators a clean slate to make changes.
Mr. Rojas said in a press release that he'll evaluate options for maintaining an aggressive business development program.
"Dave will be hard to replace. There are few individuals in the economic development community with Dave's private sector experience and his ability to understand and support the needs of the City's business community," Mr. Rojas said in the statement.