HOLLYWOOD — SAG, on the heels of the most contentious election in its history, has opened the campaign season for its next election.
The upcoming contest will see all 60 national board seats up for election due to a sweeping revamp of the panel as part of a recently approved “governance plan” that eliminated 44 seats. Deadline for petitions is July 24, with ballots going out Aug. 26 and results announced Sept. 23.
Plan also provides for Hollywood to receive a majority of seats on the board rather than its current 46% slice. The underrepresentation of Hollywood, which accounts for 54% of SAG members, has long been a sore point among Hollywood reps.
Tentative plans are for 32 seats to go to Hollywood, 15 to New York and 13 to the regional branches, although those numbers could be shifted according to results of a recently conducted census.
Last fall’s elections for SAG president, secretary and treasurer were thrown out by the guild’s elections committee due to violations by SAG staff and Sequoia Voting Systems of rules governing signature lines and deadlines for turning in ballots. A rerun in March produced the same outcome, with Melissa Gilbert winning for president, Elliott Gould for secretary and Kent McCord for treasurer.
Gilbert was backed by SAG’s moderates, while Gould and McCord represented the more confrontational factions. The three national offices will not be up for re-election until next year.
The question of easing ownership restrictions on talent agencies became the dominant issue in the bitter rerun campaign, with Gilbert backing a tentative agreement with agents to revamp the master franchise agreement. SAG members subsequently voted to spurn that deal, creating the current uncertainty over which rules apply to agents repping SAG members.
The election is likely to draw high-profile members. Top finishers for Hollywood board seats last fall were Richard Dreyfuss, Mike Farrell, Shelly Fabares, Esai Morales, Diane Ladd and Seymour Cassel.
Members began circulating petitions last month for the seats, with two — three-term board member Eugene Boggs and Jerry Velasco — already having turned in their petitions. Boggs, a law professor and a stickler for adhering to procedure in the SAG boardroom, finished third of four candidates in the recent presidential elections.