Additional L.A.-Based SAG-AFTRA National Board Members to Be Appointed (Exclusive)

7:37 AM PST 09/28/2013 by Jonathan Handel

The selection of one expected board member was considered controversial.

Several new SAG-AFTRA board members from Los Angeles have been or are about to be appointed, The Hollywood Reporter has learned, with one of them an unexpected and controversial pick.

Some background: SAG-AFTRA rules differentiate between national board members and national officers (president, secretary/treasurer, executive vice president, and seven vice presidents). No one can serve simultaneously in two roles, so when national board members get elected to an officer position, they give up their national board seat. How does that vacancy get filled?

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For board members from Los Angeles, the answer is that the board member chooses his or her own replacement. That’s also what happens if an L.A.-based national board member simply decides to resign his or her seat.

Several such replacements have been or are about to be made, but have not been announced. According to sources, these include the following:

* Union president Ken Howard has appointed William Charlton to fill his seat.

* In a surprise move, newly-elected executive vice president Gabrielle Carteris will be appointing David Jolliffe. Carteris is a leader of Unite for Strength, while Jolliffe is a long-time leader of the rival Membership 1st party. UFS championed merger, while Membership First (as it was then known) was bitterly opposed. Some sources view Carteris’s appointment of Jolliffe as a gracious reach across the aisle, while others term it a betrayal. One source said that there were “many other worthy UFS members” from whom Carteris should have chosen.

* Secretary/treasurer Amy Aquino has or will appoint Michelle Dunker. Aquino nominated Carteris for evp, and Dunker helped with Carteris’s campaign.

* L.A. local president (and national vp for LA) Clyde Kusatsu has or will appoint Assaf Cohen to fill his seat.

* Tony Shaloub will be resigning and appointing Allen Lulu to take his place.

It was not possible to reach the above individuals for comment.

As backdrop to all of the appointments, the union’s dominant Unite for Strength party has effectively fractured into two factions. One consists of Howard and various other board members, and is allied with New York’s Unite SAG-AFTRA Nationwide (USAN) party.

The other UFS faction is composed of Aquino, Carteris, and various other board members, and is allied with the New York Coalition 4 Unity, a group led by former AFTRA president and SAG-AFTRA co-president Roberta Reardon. This faction also has the support of many of the locals outside L.A. and New York – Exhibit A is Carteris’s 3 to 1 victory over USAN’s Mike Hodge  for evp (66.5 percent to 23.2 percent). And, with Carteris’s appointment of Jolliffe, the Aquino-Carteris faction may also have the support of M 1st.

That coalition means that Howard’s 2013-2015 term may see him somewhat isolated. Whether any of this inside baseball will have an effect on the TV/theatrical negotiations with the studios this spring remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the next battleground will be appointment of various SAG-AFTRA committees. The president appoints the members and chairs, but his appointments are subject to ratification by the national board, which meets Monday and Tuesday.

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