The lines are being drawn in the battle for the soul of the Screen Actors Guild.
In an election set for completion on Nov. 3, Richard Masur — running for a third term as president — will most likely face Eugene Boggs, who earlier this year filed a complaint against Masur and 54 other SAG board members for their roles in quashing an investigation of a miscount in an internal election.
“I would imagine that this is going to be a pretty spirited campaign,” Masur conceded Monday. “I don’t want to make this a personal thing, and the problem has been the personal stuff. We want to talk about issues, accomplishments and the best future for the guild.”
Asked why he would want to serve again in a position that has given him frequent headaches, Masur referred to the “extremely important issues” facing the guild and its 90,000 members.
“Because of the tremendous changes in the technology with which our work is recorded and distributed, and also because of the globalization of the industry, it’s putting tremendous stress on U.S. performers,” Masur said. “For all those reasons, I felt it was important for me to continue on in this office.”
He acknowledged that the job of SAG president — and the work of other elected officers, all of whom serve as volunteers — is “a strain on everyone’s time, energy and career.”
“Sitting in this position as the president and doing the job with the intensity with which I’ve done it has multiplied that effect manyfold,” he said. “But my record of accomplishments should stand me in good stead.”
He listed an increase in responsiveness to the needs of SAG members and an expansion of staff in the key areas of contract enforcement, legal services and legislative activity, which, he said, “have placed significant dollars in the pockets of our members.”
One of the good things about SAG, Masur said, “is that people are willing to stand up and throw their hat in the ring.”
One of those would appear to be Boggs, who could not be reached for comment Monday, but who has begun the process of filing a petition to run for the SAG presidency — the only guild member thus far to do so.
One of his allies, David Jolliffe, is running for re-election as 11th vice president.
“My main issue is cable residuals in both commercial and theatrical — the inequity has to be fixed,” said Jolliffe, a member of Performers’ Alliance, a SAG faction that opposes Masur and his allies. “The day of the one-cent cable residual under my watch must disappear. Cable has destroyed the ability of commercial performers to earn a living wage.”
Jolliffe has put together a SAG committee to study commercials, wages and working conditions. Last Wednesday, committee members met with 80 commercial agents to discuss issues pertaining to performers in commercials.
More candidates possible
Other SAG members could enter the race before the petition deadline on Sept. 13. Ballots will go out to members a month later and are due back on Nov. 3.
The guild’s nominating committee, headed by Performers’ Alliance member Chuck Sloan, named a slate of 26 candidates after meeting on Sunday.
In addition to Masur, the nominees include Dena Dietrich, a board member running for recording secretary; the current recording secretary, Sumi Haru, for first VP; treasurer F.J. O’Neil, who wants to be re-elected to the post; Tom Bower, a board member, for third VP; and current board member Gary Epp, for ninth VP.
The following are aiming for the Hollywood board of directors: current vice presidents Amy Aquino, Bob Carlson and Paul Napier; incumbent board members Tom Bower, Richard Herd, Sonya Y. Maddox and Karla Tamburrelli; and Michael P. Byrne, Mark Carlton, Michael Harrity, Gregory Itzin, Jane Kaczmarek, Matthew Kimbrough, Tom La Grua, Kurt McCortney, Peggy Miley and Glen Veteto.