ATAS empowers executive panel

The general membership of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has given full voting status to all members of its executive committee, including presidential appointees.

The bylaw changes give more responsibility over day-to-day management to that body at the expense — in the view of some members — of the board of governors.

The vote to ratify, held Tuesday night, reportedly carried by a 92-40 margin. Only 1% of the Academy’s estimated 6,400 members were needed to constitute a quorum.

The executive committee will now consist of six elected officers, six presidential appointees, two governors (elected from the pool of 50 on the board) and the head of the ATAS Foundation.

Advocates at Tuesday’s meeting maintained that the switch will streamline operations and enable the org to attract more people of stature within the industry.

Previously, all actions had to be approved by the board, which consists of two members from each of 24 peer group branches, plus two at-large members.

Opponents, including governors from ATAS’ largest single peer group, the actors branch, said the switch would shift Academy control to industry exex and away from the current membership.

The question, governor Marvin Kaplan said, is whether the group would be the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences or “the Academy of Television Executives.”

Some industry heavyweights took increased interest in the Academy after last year’s Primetime Emmy ceremony, which many viewed as an embarrassment.

Proponents said the board will still control all vital decisions such as annual budget, membership and awards shows.

They added that it’s unreasonable to ask non-voters to devote as much time to the org as the exec committee requires.

The bylaw change should give more authority to the next president of the Academy, who will sit on the exec committee and be able to appoint six members to that panel.

On Tuesday the Academy also approved plans to move the election of new officers up a month, to August, to allow for a smoother transition before officers are installed on Oct. 13.

Sources say members of the performers branch, who constitute roughly one-seventh of ATAS’ membership, may be seeking to nominate some of their own candidates for the elected slots, which include president, two vice presidents, secretary, treasurer and the L.A.-area representative.

Current prexy Leo Chaloukian is completing his second consecutive two-year term and cannot seek re-election.

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