Mangan to exit WGA East

Served as exec director for 29 years

Long-serving WGA East executive director Mona Mangan, who has been criticized for a lack of progress on two open broadcast newswriter contracts, said Thursday that she plans to retire from her post.

Mangan intends to pursue unspecified new opportunities.

"This has been an enormously exciting and challenging job and one I'm thrilled to have had for so many years," Mangan said. "I can only hope that my new projects will be as professionally and personally rewarding."

As the guild's top staffer for 29 years, Mangan has been involved in many negotiations but perhaps none so difficult as a pair of current situations involving ABC and CBS. Its contracts with the networks covering hundreds of TV and radio newswriters in several markets expired more than two years ago, and negotiations are at an impasse.

Mangan and many of her solid supporters at the WGAE suggest that the impasses are simply the product of management intransigence at the bargaining table. But those at the networks and Mangan critics in the WGA West — where jurisdictional disputes have caused hard feelings in some quarters over the years — tend to fault Mangan's personal negotiating style, which they claim is long on formality and short on practicality.

No new negotiating sessions are scheduled with ABC or CBS. But Mangan suggested Thursday that ongoing efforts to break the negotiating impasse will work.

"We have implemented strategies to close these contracts," Mangan said. "The strategies are member-driven and also involve extensive lobbying efforts in Congress and with the FCC."

Among the member-driven strategies are membership rallies of the sort staged outside ABC's New York offices Aug. 16. Lobbying efforts in Washington have included recent meetings with members of the Illinois and New York congressional delegation to discuss key issues in the newswriters negotiations.

Mangan also is involved in the WGA's fledgling film and TV contract negotiations with Hollywood studios, but those negotiations are being led by WGAW exec director David Young.

On Thursday, WGAE president Chris Albers thanked Mangan for her years of service to the guild.

"Mona has guided our union through many difficult times, and she has provided continuity and endless support for members like myself who hold office," said Albers, who is stepping down from his office in September.

Two candidates are vying to replace Albers: TV writer Michael Winship, who has called for a strong backing of the current negotiating team at the guild, and TV newswriter Tom Phillips, who has said he is uncertain if top execs should remain in their posts.

Mangan said she would remain in her job until the WGAE board appoints someone to succeed her. An exec search for candidates to succeed Mangan is planned.

"That could take anywhere from several months to a year," WGAE spokeswoman Sherry Goldman said.

Nettlesome issues in the broadcast newswriter talks include a range of pay proposals, work rules and jurisdictional matters.