The candidates approved by the WGA West nominating committee were announced Monday. They are competing for eight open seats.
The list comprises incumbents David A. Goodman (“Family Guy”), Mark Gunn, Katherine Fugate (“Valentine’s Day”), Karen Harris, Kathy Kiernan and Aaron Mendelson.
Other candidates are Robin Schiff, Cheryl Heuton, Timothy J. Lea, Mick Betancourt (“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”), Erich Hoeber (“Battleship”), Erica Montolfo (“The Game”), Matt Pyken (“NCIS: Los Angeles”), Naomi Foner (“Bee Season”) and Steve Skrovan (“Everybody Loves Raymond”).
The candidates did not include two well-known incumbents — John Bowman, who was the negotiating chair during the 2007-08 WGA strike; and Howard Michael Gould, who made a well-received speech urging members to support the strike a few days before the work stoppage.
Other candidates can also emerge via petition with a July 23 deadline. The guild will host a candidates night town hall forum at its headquarters on Sept. 7 and announce election results Sept. 17.
With the WGA’s contract expiring May 1, the results of the voting will be closely scrutinized. WGA West voters opted last fall for moderation over aggression when John Wells was returned to the presidency following the turbulent four-year tenure of WGA West president Patric Verrone — which culminated in the bitter 100-day strike of 2007-08.
The WGA West has not yet set talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers on a successor to the hard-fought contract. The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists will start talks Sept. 27, followed by the Directors Guild of America in mid-November; those deals expire on June 30, 2011.
Wells had supported the strike but also played a key behind-the-scenes role in pushing for an end to the work stoppage once theDGA reached its deal. Wells won the election by 125 votes over Verrone’s ally Elias Davis but his slatemates Howard Michael Gould and Keyser lost to Verrone allies for the VP and treasurer slots.
Turnout for last year’s hard-fought election was nearly double the levels of recent years, with about 30% of guild members casting the 2,348 ballots. Verrone, who was termed out of the presidency after serving two consecutive two-year terms, remained strongly supported within the WGA’s rank-and-file. He drew more votes (1,364) in his race for a board seat than any other candidate in the election.
Control of the WGA West board shifted abruptly in 2005, when Verrone’s Writers United coalition tapped into a strong sentiment among rank-and-file members that guild leadership had grown too accommodating of management. Wells’ past regime has been criticized by some members for what they perceived as failures to push hard for gains in DVD, new media and cable TV, among other issues.