The Game Manufacturers Association announced it will not renew Executive Director John Ward’s contract. An August 24 press release says:
The Board of Directors of the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has passed a motion electing not to renew the current employment contract of its Executive Director, John Ward.
John Ward has served GAMA in the Executive Director role for ten years. He led the organization through a difficult time by building its annual events — the Origins Game Fair and GAMA Trade Show — and retiring its debt. The Board thanks John for his service and wishes him the best in his future endeavors.
This is a non-renewal, not an immediate termination, and Ward will be around to assist the transition to new leadership:
…An Executive Director job description and call for applicants will be posted on the gama.org website when the board is ready to consider applicants. The board encourages all enthusiastic, qualified candidates to apply. The board also thanks the outgoing Executive Director for agreeing to help during the transition period.
GAMA runs Origins Game Fair. John Ward first made news at File 770 on May 14 when he withdrew the event’s invitation for Larry Correia to be one of its guests of honor: “Origins Game Fair Drops Larry Correia as Guest”.
…Shortly after publicizing that Correia had been added to the lineup, John Ward, the event’s Executive Director, received so many negative social media comments (on Twitter, particularly) that he announced Correia’s invitation has been rescinded….
This elicited an enormous negative reaction among Correia fans on social media, including people who might otherwise have approved anyone with the kind of background Ward brought to the job. A press release about his hiring in 2009 stated:
…Professionally, Ward has extensive experience in the military and in state government. Ward is a retired Army officer with over 23 years of combined service in the military police and engineer corps. His military experience has provided him opportunities to deploy to Europe, Central America, Korea, and the Persian Gulf for the first Gulf War.
Ward also has over 20 years of government service in the criminal justice field, most recently in the juvenile system as the state of Ohio’s Bureau Chief of Parole and then Bureau Chief of Community Facilities….
The Correia matter was just one of the challenges Ward faced this year. Harassment allegations by one participant against another about an experience during the Origins Game Fair received wide coverage. Polygon’s story covered responses from the accused, and by Origins’ administering body, GAMA: “Accusations of sexual harassment rock the board gaming community”.
GAMA’s official statement said in part:
As we demonstrated earlier this year, we take harassment very seriously and are committed to providing a safe, welcoming and fun environment for everyone at the show.
This serious allegation has not been taken lightly. We are committed to handling this in a thorough and professional manner. We are interviewing all parties involved and gathering statements from witnesses who viewed the incident firsthand. We owe all parties involved a fair process to gather the facts and discern as much as possible those confirmed elements before we act. The ramifications of an unjustified response are simply irreplaceably damaging….
A Google search did not find any more news about how the harassment allegations are being handled.
[Thanks to airboy for the story.]