The Writers Guild's embattled stand-in president Charles Holland resigned today. The email to WGA members follows, forwarded from several members while I've been out and around (thanks to you all):
LOS ANGELES - The Writers Guild of America, west announced today that Charles Holland has tendered his resignation as president of the guild.
In accordance with the guild's constitution, Vice President Daniel Petrie Jr. succeeds to the presidency and assumes its duties immediately. Petrie was appointed to replace Holland as guild vice president on January 27, after Holland became president following Victoria Riskin's resignation.
Petrie previously served the guild as its president (1997-99) and vice president (1995-97, 1999-01) and as a board member (1994-95).
Holland stepped down to prevent concerns about recent articles challenging his background from proving a distraction during the 2004 industry negotiations.
"I've known and worked alongside Charles Holland for many years, and I can only say that his selfless decision is entirely characteristic of someone who has served the guild with dedication, intelligence, and integrity," said Petrie. "I hope that we can now put all the extraneous issues behind us and focus on the important job of securing the best possible agreement for the writers we represent."
"As committed as I am to fulfilling my responsibilities and to standing up for myself, the guild is more important than one man," said Charles Holland. "On the eve of negotiations, I have no choice but to remove myself and clear the air for the only issue that matters - the best possible deal for the benefit of the most possible writers."
Holland also issued a statement:
Effective immediately, I am resigning as President of the WGAw. I do this fully of my own volition because I believe it to be in the best interest of the Guild.
Shortly after I was appointed president, I became the subject of controversy regarding my military and football background. Many felt I should resign. Many urged me to remain. I thought the questions raised were irrelevant to the Guild and expected they would be marginalized when placed in context with my professional career and Guild service. Consequently, I determined to let process sort matters out.
Though the WGAw Board of Directors had no constitutional power to remove me, I sought a vote of confidence and received one. The Guild constitution provides for recall on petition of 300 signatures, relatively minor for a Guild of 9,000 members. I expected petitions to circulate, and they did. However, the requisite signatures were never obtained. I went further to conduct informal outreach measures by supporters and collect member feedback from TV staff visits performed by the guild's Member Services department.
What has emerged is that, though members lack motivation to have me removed, deep misgivings and substantial concerns lie in the minds of a great many members. I am now persuaded that the personal aspersions cast upon me will continue and that they will distract our Guild's focus, hindering our negotiating position. That I cannot allow.
In my Guild service, I have always trumpeted unity, strength, and common sense. As committed as I am to fulfilling my responsibilities and to standing up for myself, the Guild is more important than one man. On the eve of negotiations, I have no choice but to remove myself and clear the air for the only issue that matters - the best possible deal for the benefit of the most possible writers.
I possess great pride in having served the Guild with all my might for six years. With deep personal regret, I step aside, yet I know that I leave the WGAw in the best of hands. To my supporters, know that I will be forever grateful for, even awed by, your loyalty and devotion. I urge you to invest that loyalty in Dan Petrie Jr. and the Writers Guild of America as I return to the honorable position of WGAw member in good standing.