SAG issues pre-vote caution

Procedural memo issued before every election, spokeswoman sez

HOLLYWOOD — New Screen Actors Guild chief Robert Pisano has warned guild staff to avoid any involvement in upcoming SAG elections.

Pisano’s memo, issued last week, comes amid prospects for a number of spirited contests. More than 40 offices are open; voting is set to start Oct. 12 and end Oct. 31. Presidential candidates Eugene Boggs, Melissa Gilbert and Valerie Harper have already launched extensive campaigns.

“Our position is neutral, and our responsibility is to serve our members, regardless of who holds political office,” Pisano wrote. “It is inappropriate for any staff members to support, criticize or otherwise discuss any political issues or any of the candidates. Please use extreme caution with your words and actions to insure that no remarks or actions on your part may be misconstrued as in any way supporting or opposing any candidate or issue.”

Pisano, who was named CEO on Sept. 10, also reminded staffers that it is unlawful to use SAG facilities, equipment or personnel to further any candidate’s election bid.

Guild spokeswoman Ilyanne Kichaven said the memo had been issued as standard procedure and added that she was not aware of any recent policy violations by staffers. “It’s a procedural memo that we issue before every election to remind everyone to conduct themselves with decorum,” she said.

Memo comes a year after accusations of electioneering by staff surfaced at SAG’s New York branch. Dispute, which has been taken to the Natl. Labor Relations Board, featured allegations of misconduct in last fall’s election by SAG national associate exec director John McGuire and New York exec director John Sucke.

New York branch prexy Lisa Scarola and five defeated board candidates sought to overturn the election based on the alleged involvement of the execs, ballot stuffing and misuse of SAG funds. A guild election committee dismissed the allegations in February, leading to the NLRB filing.

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