WGA Announces Officer and Board Candidates

Patric Verrone Chris Keyser Split 2011
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Patric Verrone Chris Keyser Split 2011

Candidates for president are past president Patric M. Verrone and board member Christopher Keyser.

The WGA West’s nominating committees have announced the initial list of candidates for the 2011-2013 WGAW Officers and Board of Directors election.

The officer candidates are as follows: President – Patric M. Verrone, Christopher Keyser; Vice President – Howard A. Rodman, John Aboud; Secretary-Treasurer – David N. Weiss (inc.), Carl Gottlieb.

EXCLUSIVE: WGA West President John Wells Will Not Seek Reelection

THR previously reported that the current president, writer-producer John Wells, is not seeking another term and that the candidates were likely to be past president Verrone and board member Keyser.

In a joint statement, Verrone and Keyser said “We look forward to waging a positive campaign; discussing the issues and concerns affecting our fellow members; and developing solutions to the problems facing all writers.”

There are 17 candidates nominated to run for eight open seats on the guild’s board: Anthony Sparks, Dan Wilcox (inc.), Michael Oates Palmer, Thania St. John, Ari B. Rubin, Nelson Soler, Billy Ray (inc.), Linda Burstyn (inc.), Mark Alton Brown, David S. Goyer, Barbara E. Nance, Alfredo Barrios, Jr., John Brancato, Ian Deitchman (inc.), Nell Scovell, Jay Kogen, Carleton Eastlake (inc.).

WGAW rules require candidates to be announced in an order determined by lot; (inc.) denotes an incumbent candidate.

One of the board candidates, Rubin, has also begun outreach to the press: in an email to THR, he said “I chose to run this year to speak for this unattended-to majority: writers befuddled by career setbacks and feeling undefended in the industry.” He was the only Guild member to publish a ratification statement along with this year’s new contract and has posted what he calls “the only comprehensive policy proposal offered in this race.”

In addition to the candidates selected by the nominating committees, eligible members may also be nominated by petition. Members seeking nomination for officer positions must obtain 50 member signatures; board petitions require 25 member signatures. The deadline for submitting signed petitions to the WGAW is Friday, July 22, at 12:00 p.m. (PDT). Members may submit online nomination petitions by visiting the members-only section of the WGAW website.

The WGAW will host its annual Candidates Night town-hall forum, at which Guild members may meet and pose questions to officer and board candidates, on Wednesday, August 31, at WGAW headquarters.

Guild members will receive candidate, non-candidate, and rebuttal statements, if any, with their ballots prior to the election. Candidates may mail additional campaign materials at their own expense. Members may vote by mail or in person at the WGAW’s annual membership meeting on Thursday, September 15. Ballots will be counted on Friday, September 16.

Wells is currently in his second non-consecutive term as president; he previously served from 1999 to 2001. An email to him was not returned. However, a source told THR that Wells’ decision was based on his professional workload: he oversees Showtime’s Shameless and TNT’s Southland and is preparing to direct a second theatrical film as well. (His first was the recent Company Men.)

Verrone was president of the WGA West from 2005-2009 and organized and presided over the WGA’s 2007-2008 strike. His 25 year career includes writing for Emmy-winner Futurama and The Tonight Show. Keyser’s career spans over two-decades, and his credits include writing and executive producing Party of Five.

The Verrone v. Keyser campaign pits lawyer against lawyer and Harvard against Harvard: Verrone is a graduate of Harvard College and Boston College Law School, while Keyser graduated from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

In New York, the WGA East recently announced its officer and Council candidates; two-term president Michael Winship is running unopposed for reelection.

Email: jhandel@att.net

Twitter: @jhandel