Guild leaders agree to cut panel from 107 to 62
HOLLYWOOD — In a rare move toward unity, leaders of the Screen Actors Guild have agreed to cut the size of the national board from 107 to 62 and give Hollywood reps a thin majority on the panel.In a 95-2 vote following five hours of debate Saturday, the board agreed to a complex governance plan to start next fall with the goal of saving as much as $700,000 in annual costs, according to last year’s Towers Perrin cost-benefit analysis. SAG’s 98,500 members will be asked to vote in the change at a yet-to-be-decided date. “I’m pleased the national board has recognized the need to provide a more responsive governance structure,” SAG prexy William Daniels said. Key part of the plan calls for a 62-seat structure even though 71 reps will be attending each meeting. Weighted voting will mean there will be a total of 138 votes. Hollywood and New York reps will receive 2.23 votes while the 16 smaller regional branches receive a single vote. Giving the smaller branches a whole vote rather than a fractional one was essential to gaining the support of their reps and many others for the plan, according to Denver prexy David Hartley-Margolin. “We felt it was critically important that the board be cognizant of differences in each of the local markets,” added Hartley-Margolin, who was part of the governance team that hammered out the plan. “Had the branches been given fractional votes, it would have sent a bad message to members in the smaller branches.” The new board will be divided up based on a census next spring, although SAG exec Sallie Weaver said the body will likely be highly similar to the approved guidelines:
- Hollywood members, repping 53.44% of SAG’s 98,000 members, will receive 32 of 62 seats. Hollywood currently holds 46% of seats.
- New York will have 15 seats, repping 25% of members.
- The president, the secretary-treasurer will each have a vote.
- The remaining 20 regional branches will share 13 seats, repping 21.56%. Florida and Chicago get two seats each, San Francisco and Washington one seat each and the remaining 16 branches a total of seven seats. But each branch will send a rep to national meetings and the weighted voting will give each of those reps a whole vote.
- Every seat will be up for election next fall (except for president, secretary and treasurer, whose terms will be two years following this fall’s election) before returning to a third of the seats every year. The plan also calls for the board to be reapportioned every two years if there are changes in the membership.
- The current 12 VPs will be replaced by three, one each for Hollywood, Gotham and the branches.
- The secretary and treasurer posts will be merged into a single post.
- Tightened qualifications for board service will include a requirement that dues be paid up.