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SAG board members move to oust chief negotiator

January 26, 2009 | 12:48 pm

Sagedifice_2

The Screen Actors Guild board today moved to oust the union's executive director, Doug Allen, citing a crisis in leadership that has paralyzed Hollywood's largest actors union.

A majority of directors said in a statement that they had delivered a "written assent" document to SAG headquarters that authorized that Allen be immediately replaced as national executive director by former SAG General Counsel David White, who will serve as interim executive director. Allen has been on the job for two years.

For now, Allen's job will be split in two. As part of the shake-up, John T. McGuire will take over Allen's role as the union's chief negotiator on all contracts. In addition, the union's negotiating committee will be replaced by a "task force" appointed by the board, which will "work to secure a TV/theatrical contract that can be sent to members with a positive recommendation."

"These much needed changes will allow SAG to chart a new course," the group said.

The move, which was widely expected, comes two weeks after the board majority attempted to fire Allen but was filibustered by his supporters during a 28-hour meeting. The group represents a coalition of so-called moderates who have accused Allen and SAG President Alan Rosenberg of mishandling negotiations and dividing the 120,000-member union. Actors have been working without a contract since June 30, 2008.

The board members voted by means of "written assent," a provision in SAG's constitution that allows a majority of directors to take action by putting their votes in writing. "The unrelenting obstruction by a minority of board members has left us no alternative,'' the group said in explaining its action.

SAG had no immediate comment.

-- Richard Verrier

Photo: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

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