HOLLYWOOD — Screen Actors Guild prexy William Daniels, on the heels of blasting the national board’s conduct, has declared the panel needs to reach a deal on the plan to shrink it from 107 to 62 seats.
“There is an agreement to be reached as to governance and all pressing matters of concern about the guild’s future,” Daniels said Thursday in a message to SAG members. “It is time to do it.”
The board was unable on July 30 to agree to vote on the plan — which will boost Hollywood’s share to 54% from the current 46% — so Daniels has scheduled a special meeting Aug. 16 specifically devoted to the much-debated issue. Daniels, who announced last month that he would not seek re-election, criticized the board at length during last week’s meeting for its stalling tactics and unprofessional behavior.
Daniels said Thursday he has received hundreds of messages about the plan. “I have determined that there is so much other urgent business before the board that an additional meeting is necessary,” he said. “Given the fervor around the matter of the governance plan, its impact on the operation of the guild and the lead time required to implement any new plan, I have determined that the most cost-effective course now is to address governance at the special meeting and attend to the other urgent matters in September.”
But the issue remains a non-starter for many reps outside Hollywood, who complain the plan is not completed and is being rushed through without adequate consideration at a cost of $40,000 for the meeting.
Lack of urgency
“Nothing in the message speaks to me of urgency,” said Gotham-based 4th VP Eileen Henry. “What I walk away with is that it does not address the important issues like wages and working conditions, runaway production, the agency agreement, our rising health care costs or the costs of last year’s strike.”
Board member and presidential candidate Eugene Boggs pointed out that the board had covered only 11 of 46 agenda items last week, including consideration of whether the national exec director is also SAG’s CEO, and that items wind up being perpetually postponed. He contended Daniels has not taken enough responsibility for exerting control over the board.
“The key role of the president at a meeting is to move business forward,” Boggs said. “Governance gridlock is preventing anything else of substance from getting done.”
Backers of the plan, who point to the need to cut costs and make the board more manageable, are set to launch a referendum drive to take the matter directly to members.