“It’s not as though it is a scorched earth situation, although it’s not desirable,” Mr Norris said.
Last week Mr Poynton (62) announced he would not seek renewal of his contract, due to expire in mid-December, and would look at “other opportunities” after four-and-a-half years in the role.
He will stay on to help the council hire a new chief executive, who will choose replacements for former corporate service manager Andres Gertenbach, who announced in November he would leave, and former regulatory services manager Thomas Abbott, who resigned before Christmas.
Mr Poynton will also have to complete Mosman Park’s proposed new town planning scheme and guide any outcome from a proposal for part of North Fremantle to join the town, before a potential early departure about April.
Mr Norris was instrumental in bringing Mr Poynton to the council.
He said the departure was partially explained by differing opinions with some councillors over issues including the budget last year, before all met to discuss staff leader-ship last month.
“My view was that he should remain, and that was supported by a few, but not the majority,” Mr Norris said.
He said Mr Poynton’s legacy included creating community contacts and services, including securing the future of the Mosman Park RSL.
Mr Poynton would not comment on the reasons for his early departure, but said the future would “probably not” include local government work.
He is a former army officer and said he might explore opportunities with defence-related organisations and widen his current Red Cross work.
“What it is not going to be about is six days a week at the golf club, a pipe and slippers,” Mr Poynton said.
He said he was proud to continue working for the town’s RSL branch, whose members thought he was “the only link between their survival and destruction”.
Any new leaders of the council’s staff needed to create a “healthy culture” for the council’s core business of serving the community.
Former Peppermint Grove chief executive Anne Banks-McAllister has been hired as an interim deputy-chief executive at Mosman Park.