Musicians union apparently changes leadership by default

An election that was shaping up as a philosophical race of the old guard versus new blood has become less than a nailbiter for the Las Vegas Musicians Union. The new blood apparently wins by default.

A newsletter for the embattled union lists only one candidate for president, Jack Gaughan, on the ballot for the membership’s general election Dec. 19.

The union’s longtime president, Frank Leone, recently had been nominated to run against Gaughan, in an effort to regain the post he had been forced to relinquish by the parent union, the American Federation of Musicians.

Ken Shirk, the trustee who is in short-term control of the union until the election, said Monday he could not confirm member reports that the election committee had found Leone ineligible to run again.

Last month, the parent union stepped in to take “temporary trusteeship” of the 611-member union and supervise new elections for officers and board members.

Leone stepped down temporarily after he was found guilty of mishandling a contract ratification for Circus-Circus musicians. Leone, who could not be reached Monday, had maintained the union’s flawed bylaws were the root of the problem.

Gaughan was the musical director for past Las Vegas productions of “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular” and “Chicago” He said Monday he could not comment until after the election.

In newsletter materials for the election, Gaughan writes that the union “should receive equivalent benefits of other unions in equal size cities, and looking outside the box will shed some light on how we can give better support to our membership.

“I have a strategic plan for a more inclusive Local 369, and a more dynamic partnership with the Las Vegas valley community,” Gaughan writes.

Other unopposed candidates include Gary Cordell for vice president and Keith Nelson, the current secretary-treasurer.

The 14 candidates running for trustee spots on the union’s board include Bill Callanan, the player who initiated the complaint that Leone mishandled the Circus-Circus contract, and Angela Chan, who got into a heated argument with Leone at a meeting.

Read more from Mike Weatherford at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com Follow him @Mikeweatherford.

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