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WGA puts up pair for prexy post

Elliott, Verrone duel for Petrie position

A correction was made to this article on Monday, June 27.>

Writers Guild of America West board member Ted Elliott and secretary-treasurer Patric Verrone have been tapped as the candidates to succeed Daniel Petrie Jr. as WGA West president.

Both said Thursday that their campaigns would stress the need to expand the guild’s jurisdiction into reality TV, animated features and videogame design.

“My theme is going to be all organizing, all the time,” said Verrone, who’s served one two-year term as a board member and two as secretary-treasurer.

Elliott, who co-wrote both the “Pirates of the Caribbean” scripts and “Shrek” with Terry Rossio, knows the problems faced by writers who work without a guild contract as he did on “Shrek.” “That’s when you become aware of what the WGA can do for you,” he said.

The guild’s nominating committee selected Elliott and Verrone but other candidates can petition to run for the post by July 22. Ballots will be due Sept. 19 with results announced the next day.

Verrone has been active in organizing primetime animated TV shows “The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill,” “Futurama” and “Family Guy” since the late 1990s. His credits include “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson,” “The Simpsons,” “Futurama” and “The Critic.”

Verrone’s also planning to stress a more coordinated approach among Hollywood labor unions in prepping for the 2007 and 2008 contract negotiations. He was one of 14 members of the WGA’s negotiating committee who formed WGA Writers United last fall to press for a more assertive approach at the negotiating table.

Elliott, who was elected as part of Petrie’s Stronger Guild slate last fall, plans to stress untraditional approaches such as finding ways to improve writers’ participation in development and seeking to gain jurisdiction over videogame design.

The nominating committee also tapped board member David N. Weiss to face incumbent Carl Gottlieb for the VP slot and Irma Kalish and Elias Davis as candidates for secretary-treasurer.

Incumbents Peter Lefcourt, Don M. Mankiewicz, Melissa Rosenberg, Tim O’Donnel and Robert King were named by the nominating committee as candidates for the eight open board seats. The other candidates are Eric Heisserer, Gary Ross, Mike Langworthy, Doug Eboch, Art Eisenson, Phil Alden Robinson, Tom Schulman, Dan Wilcox, Joan Meyerson, Howard A. Rodman and Steve Chivers.

Verrone said he’d run as part of a yet-to-be-named slate that will include Weiss, Davis, Robinson, Schulman, Ross, Rodman, Meyerson, King and Lefcourt. Elliott said he hasn’t decided whether to form a slate.

The election is the first for the WGA West since the Dept. of Labor supervised a hotly contested presidential election between Petrie and Eric Hughes. That election — held to fill the one year left in the term of former prexy Victoria Riskin, who resigned in January 2004 — featured extensive debate over the guild’s strategy in contract negotiations and how it administers screenplay credits.

The feds supervised last year’s contest to resolve complaints over how the 2003 election was conducted after department investigators found Riskin’s was invalid. She was ineligible to run because she had not worked under the WGA contract for the previous four years.

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