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Lines drawn in WGAW’s prexy battle

In a sign that union politics are heating up, WGAW prexy Brad Radnitz has strongly endorsed Lynn Roth for the presidency and has sharply criticized guild VP Daniel Petrie Jr.’s decision to run for the WGAW’s top spot.

In a tersely worded statement that will be mailed to members later this month as part of a ballot packet, Radnitz says that Petrie’s busy writing and directing duties would prevent him from being an effective president. Writers Guild of America West elections are skedded for Sept. 18.

“Lynn Roth will be there, in person, to do the hands-on job now required of our guild president,” Radnitz says in the statement. “The presidency should never be considered a titular job; one that can be performed when time allows.

“Dan, a very talented and active director and production rewriter, was absent for several long periods during his vice presidency,” Radnitz continues.

Sources say the animosity between the two WGAW officers stems from Radnitz’s position that guild prexys should be paid a subsistence stipend, which Petrie strongly opposes. Sources say Radnitz wanted to run for a second term, but decided not to when the post remained an unpaid position.

In a rebuttal statement, also set to be mailed with the WGAW’s ballot packet, Petrie praises Radnitz’s hard work, but says that the guild’s constitution clearly creates a separation between the president, who is a member of the guild, and a paid executive director, who is responsible for the daily administrative duties of running the guild.

“Certainly history shows us that many of our greatest guild presidents, men like Frank Pierson, John Furia, and Dan Taradash, to name just a few, have served in that office in the middle of very busy, and very successful careers,” Petrie states.

Roth, who works more often in Los Angeles, recently scripted CBS pic “Patron Saint of Liars,” which is skedded to air in November.

In the past two years, Petrie directed and exec produced an ABC pilot in Vancouver, directed HBO’s “Dead Silence” and reportedly was hired to rewrite the MGM/UA James Bond pic “Tomorrow Never Dies.” Petrie has also signed a two-year deal with Paramount Television to develop a one-hour series.

Despite the personal differences between Radnitz and Petrie, both have endorsed the recently inked WGA contract, which will be mailed to members with the election ballots. Roth has urged a no vote.

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