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AFTRA prexy re-elected

Delegates approve cutting size of national board from 116 to 73

Leaders of American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have elected John Connolly to a third two-year term as president.

Connolly, a Los Angeles-based actor with recent credits on “The West Wing” and “Will & Grace,” was tapped Saturday over Marvin Kaplan during AFTRA’s national convention at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

Delegates also approved cutting the size of its national board from 116 to 73 and dropping a requirement that the national headquarters be in Manhattan — cost-cutting moves that were initiated last year with the aim of saving $4 million annually. AFTRA is planning to relocate the headquarters to Los Angeles.

The convention called for enactment of a federal shield law to protect journalists, saluted the “courage and resolve” of reporter Judith Miller and the New York Times and called for Miller’s release from prison. Miller has been jailed since July 6 for refusing to disclose her sources in her unpublished reporting on CIA agent Valerie Plame.

AFTRA leaders also passed a resolution that “deplores the decision and action of Time magazine in caving in to pressure to reveal confidential sources, and urges media owners and journalists nationwide not to follow Time’s example.”

The convention also re-elected Washington broadcaster Bob Edwards as national first VP; Roberta Reardon of New York was re-elected national second VP. Other officers: VPs Ron Morgan (Los Angeles), Lainie Cooke (New York), Shelby Scott, former national president (Boston), Belva Davis (San Francisco), Dave Corey (Miami), Dick Kay (Chicago) and David Hartley-Margolin (Denver).

Matt Kimbrough (Los Angeles) was tapped recording secretary, and Mitchell McGuire (New York) was re-elected treasurer.

AFTRA national exec director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth told delegates that the union will take an aggressive stance toward employers such as NBC/Telemundo, which recently refused to continue to negotiate with AFTRA. “We must not forget that we are living in an anti-union environment in which those who choose to be our adversaries grow bolder by the minute,” Hedgpeth said.

AFTRA awarded its George Heller Memorial Gold Card to Tom Powers, who has served as general counsel of AFTRA’s Washington/Baltimore Local for 34 years, as well as longtime board members Dan Ingram and Maureen Donnelly.

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