Mona Mangan, exec director of the Writers Guild of America East for the past 29 years, has announced plans to retire from the post.
Thursday’s announcement came with the guild three weeks away from resuming what are expected to be complex and contentious contract negotiations with studios and nets.
Mangan — who carries a reputation for feistiness — will continue to serve as exec director until her successor has joined the guild and a transition period has been completed.
WGA East spokeswoman Sherry Goldman indicated Mangan may remain as exec director for as long as another year. She noted SAG needed over a year to recruit and hire Doug Allen as exec director and that the WGA West needed nearly a year to remove the “interim” from David Young’s exec director title.
The WGA East announced that its ruling council has decided to form a search committee, with members to be appointed at an upcoming meeting; Mangan will serve as an adviser to the panel.
“On behalf of our members, I want to thank Mona for loyally serving the WGAE for almost three decades,” WGA East prexy Chris Albers said. “Mona has guided our union through many difficult times, and she has provided continuity and endless support for members like myself who hold office. I’m extremely grateful that Mona will help us find a suitable successor and that she will continue to help us through the transition.”
During her tenure, Mangan occasionally clashed with her counterparts at the WGA West. The two branches, which jointly negotiate the minimum basic agreement covering film and TV work, had a bitter falling out in 2005 over financial issues, but Albers and WGA West president Patric Verrone were able to broker a settlement later that year.
The WGA East also has been unable to reach deals for the past two years with ABC and CBS for newsroom employees — with no end in sight and no negotiations having taken place in 2007. The stalemates have prompted carping that Mangan’s confrontational style has precluded reaching any settlement with the nets.
In both cases, the employees have been working under the terms and conditions of expired deals since early 2005.
Mangan joined the WGA East in 1979 as an assistant exec director and was promoted to associate exec director before being tapped executive director in 1984. During her tenure, the New York-based WGA East grew from 2,500 members to almost 4,000.