Ballots will go out to the 98,500 guild members on Feb. 11

The Screen Actors Guild’s national board has made it official, giving the green light to rerun elections for president, secretary and treasurer.

The board, after hearing extensive comment from SAG attorneys, let stand the Jan. 7 decision by SAG’s elections committee to toss out November’s results due to rule violations by SAG staff and Sequoia Voting Systems.

Ballots for the 10 candidates will go out to the 98,500 SAG members on Feb. 11 with a due date of March 8. Most of the attention will focus on the race between Melissa Gilbert and Valerie Harper for president.

The decision came in the middle of a day-long meeting at SAG headquarters. Supporters of Gilbert, who won in November with 45% of the vote in a four-candidate field, had argued in recent weeks that the elections committee decision should be thrown out, based on allegations that the committee — which was composed of five Hollywood members — was not validly constituted.

Out of order

But the attorneys refuted those contentions, saying such a motion would be out of order, and Gilbert supporter Paul Petersen withdrew a motion to overturn the election committee’s decision.

Had the board decided to impose the November results, there was a strong probability that the election would have been appealed to the U.S. Labor Dept.

Gilbert and 1st VP Mike Farrell, who was Gilbert’s running mate, recused themselves from voting on a motion that was approved to reconstitute the elections committee with a six-member panel composed of three members repping Hollywood (Paul Napier, Cynthia Steele, Sumi Haru), two for New York (2nd VP Eileen Henry, 4th VP Paul Christie) and one for regional branches (8th VP Cece Dubois).

The board also thanked the five-member committee — chair Fred Savage, Ninon Aprea, Rick Barker, David Huddleston and Sally Kirkland — for their work. Each of those members indicated that they would not want to serve on the new elections committee.

No action taken

SAG staff attorneys ruled three weeks ago that Gilbert, secretary Elliott Gould and treasurer Kent McCord would continue to serve in the interim. Presidential candidate Eugene Boggs had contended that the offices were vacant and needed to be filled in the interim by a vote of the board, but the board sided with SAG attorneys and took no action Monday on Boggs’ request.

Former SAG president William Daniels, who endorsed Harper after deciding not to run, attended the meeting as a temporary replacement for Gould. At one point, he and Gilbert shook hands.

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