Empty post saved SAG big money, filing shows

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In a pair of long-delayed actions, SAG has filed a federal financial disclosure due last July and after a 10-month search agreed on a consultant to perform a commercial compensation study.

The disclosure documents, filed Wednesday and posted to the U.S. Labor Department's Web site on Thursday, show the guild saved big money during the 12-month period by leaving open its top staff position during a long candidate search.

But SAG now must file another such report by July showing its expenditures through April. Those will include three months of compensation to new national executive director Doug Allen, whose salary has yet to be disclosed.

Guild officials said the latest filing was delayed by more demanding filing requirements stipulated under newly instituted Labor Department regulations. Other guilds have cited similar difficulties in filing fiscal 2006 disclosures.

In the fiscal year ending April 30, 2006, SAG paid former CEO Robert Pisano only $56,201 in final compensation payments. That compares with a $1.63 million payout to Pisano over the previous reporting period.

Allen assumed his duties in January, with the slot reverting to an NED position and the CEO title retired. Peter Frank, listed as deputy NED in the latest disclosure documents, served as acting NED during the protracted search for Pisano's replacement.

Frank currently holds a title of chief administrative officer. He received $260,978 in compensation -- up from a previous $203,941 -- plus $21,623 in expense reimbursements through April 30, 2006.

Deputy NED Pamm Fair was paid $190,474 -- up from a previous $169,627 -- plus $27,601 in expenses during a similar period.

At the end of the disclosure period, SAG had $105.1 million in assets and $89.3 million in liabilities. That compared with $81.3 million in assets and $69.4 million in liabilities at the end of the previous reporting period.

Meanwhile, SAG, AFTRA and their ad-industry partners announced Thursday the hiring of consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton to research alternative means of compensating actors and performers on commercials distributed over new and old media platforms.

The study will examine such new compensation models "consistent with the understanding between the unions and the industry that the purpose of the study is not to reduce the aggregate compensation historically paid to performers," officials said.

Research is expected to be completed by the end of October. That will give the parties a year to consider how to incorporate any report recommendations into a new commercials contract for the unions, with the current pact to expire Oct. 28, 2008, following a two-year extension arranged in August.

Joining the guilds in hiring the consultancy was the ad industry's policy committee on broadcast talent.

"The request for proposals were a pretty ambitious document," AFTRA spokesman John Hinrichs said.

He added that the threefold review of those submitting ROPs also complicated the process.

"It just took awhile," Hinrichs said.
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