The membership of the Screen Actors Guild voted overwhelmingly in support of adopting a new Governance plan that will reduce SAG's current 107-member board by 33 percent. Of the 20,719 ballots tallied on March 28, 18,503 (89.37 percent) were in favor the plan, while 2,151 (10.39 percent) were opposed. Only 65 of 96,167 ballots mailed out Mar. 8 were deemed invalid.
The plan, approved by the SAG board in October, calls for a new, 71-member board to share in a total of 60 votes, which will be divided up based on proportional representation of members in three geographical sectors: Hollywood, New York, and the regional branches.
Much controversy surrounded the governance plan, which pitted members of the Hollywood branch against East Coast and branch members. Members of the Hollywood board, citing the fairness of proportional representation and the need to cut costs, favored the plan. Many East Coast members and branch offices feared a loss of influence because the original plan called for some of those offices to lose direct representation on the board, which some foresaw as the first step toward office closures. The plan calls for no office closures.
SAG's Hollywood board members, representing 53 percent of the guild's 98,000 members (according to a 2000 census), will receive 32 of the 60 votes. New York will be allotted 15 votes, while the remaining regional branches will share in 13 votes. Among the branches, Florida and Chicago will have two votes each, San Francisco and Washington will each have one vote, while the remaining 16 branches will share equally in the remaining seven votes.
Membership approval also sets into motion a new election for the 69 national board seats, which will take place in September. The current national president, treasurer, and recording secretary will serve out the rest of their terms.
The plan also calls for the board of directors to be reapportioned every two years, to reflect any changes in the membership. SAG will conduct a new census this month.
Other changes include a reduction in the number of vps from 12 to three, with the first, second and third vps representing Hollywood, New York, and the regional branches, respectively. In two years the positions of recording secretary and treasurer will be folded into one position called secretary-treasurer. The national executive committee will now be composed of 25 members—12 representing Hollywood, six representing New York, and five representing the regional branches, with the president and secretary-treasurer each wielding one vote, with no affiliation to any of the three geographic regions.