Verrone expected to seek two-year term

Patric M. Verrone, the activist leader of the 2007-08 writers strike, is expected to seek a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America West.

The WGA West is expected to announce the candidates for its officer posts today. Verrone and the WGAW declined comment. But Verrone has disclosed privately that he’s seeking the slot again after being prevented two years ago by the WGA constitution from seeking a third consecutive term as president, though he has served as a board member during the past two years.

Current WGA West president John Wells, who led the low-key negotiations for a new master contract earlier this year, has opted out of running again.

Verrone, who’s worked in animation for the past two decades, became the guild’s most prominent public voice during the contentious WGA strike after promising a more assertive bargaining stance and emphasizing the need for writers to receive a bigger cut of revenues in the digital arena. He’s also been a dominant figure within WGA politics for the past decade, which included the 100-day strike and the 2005 ouster of exec director John McLean in favor of David Young as part of emphasizing organizing non-union work.

Verrone won two terms as secretary-treasurer in 2001 and 2003 and was two-for-two in his runs for the presidency. He defeated Ted Elliott in 2005 with 69% of the vote and was re-elected in 2007 over Kathy Kiernan with nearly 90% of the vote. He received the highest number of votes of any candidate in the 2009 election, even more than Wells, and his allies have won most of the board seats during the past six or so years.

Today’s WGA West candidate announcement comes from the guild’s nominating committeee, which will tap two candidates each for the president, VP and secretary-treasurer slots along with 16 candidates for the eight open board seats. Current VP Tom Schulman isn’t expect to seek re-election while David Weiss will be running for re-election as secretary-treasurer.

Should Verrone win the presidency again, he’d be the fifth former WGA West president to return to the post after an absence. The three who previously accomplished that feat are Wells (who served his first term in 1999-2001), Frank Pierson, Daniel Petrie Jr. and Melville Shavelson, who was president on three different occasions (1969-71, 1979-81 and 1985-87).

Turnout in the WGA West voting tends to be in the 15% to 20% range. The hard-fought election in 2009 between Wells and Verrone ally Elias Davis saw about 30% of guild members casting 2,348 ballots.

Election results will be announced in mid-September. The WGA East announced last week that Michael Winship was running unopposed for a third term .

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