In a development that surprised no one, the severely divided SAG national board was unable to vote on the language of a plan to cut its size from 107 to 62 seats and give Hollywood a majority.

The board, which had endorsed the plan two months ago, spent much of its nine-hour meeting Thursday debating over details about the composition of SAG’s national executive committee. The meeting was adjourned at 9 p.m. without a vote, meaning that the matter may be decided at next month’s board meeting.

Should the board OK the language, that step will trigger a referendum of SAG’s 98,500 members in the next several months. And if members approve the plan, an election for all seats except president, secretary and treasurer would be held next fall.

But further delays could mean that SAG will be unable to implement the plan — designed to save as much as $800,000 annually — until 2003.

Guidelines for the governance plan were approved Oct. 14 by the national board on a 95-2 vote amid proclamations of unity by board members. But reps from Gotham and regional branches argued Thursday that the 25-member national exec committee needed to have more specific requirements — that more slots go to the top vote-getters in board elections, for example.

The proposal called for 12 NEC members from Hollywood, six from New York, five from the branches, the SAG president and secretary-treasurer.

The debate over the plan prevented consideration of other details, such as requiring board members to have worked under the contract during a specified period and limiting the pool of temporary board replacements to candidates in the most recent election.