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SAG senior staff received pay raises in 2008, federal records show

The hikes, approved during Doug Allen's tenure as executive director, came during a year when the actors guild faced a nearly $6-million deficit and suffered investment losses.

September 03, 2009|Richard Verrier

Several senior staff members of the Screen Actors Guild received substantial pay hikes in a year when Hollywood's largest actors union faced a nearly $6-million deficit, federal records show.

The disclosures are likely to add fuel to an already heated guild election that has pitted so-called moderates who ousted the union's former executive director, Doug Allen, against the group that backed his yearlong contract standoff with the major studios. The moderates installed a new chief negotiator and tapped former general counsel David White as interim executive director.

The pay hikes, which were approved in spring 2008, came during a year when SAG, like other Hollywood guilds, was hit by investment losses because of the stock market slide and a slowdown in members' work that cut revenue from union dues. SAG also has been buffeted by internal strife and loss of jobs to its rival union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

To cut costs, White laid off 35 employees, instituted a hiring freeze and eliminated pay hikes and bonuses for senior management for this year. White also took a 10% pay cut, bringing his salary to $360,000.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Monday, September 07, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 60 words Type of Material: Correction
Screen Actors Guild: An article in Thursday's Business section on payments made to senior executives of the Screen Actors Guild in the last fiscal year did not make clear that some of the pay increases consisted largely of accrued vacation that, under guild policy, employees could elect to cash out. The union's executive director does not approve such one-time payments.

Among the guild's highest-paid staffers is Pamm Fair, deputy national executive director of policy and strategic planning, whose pay increased 31% to $291,152 in the fiscal year ended April 30, according to a recent filing with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Another deputy national director, Ray Rodriguez, saw a 19% increase, bringing his pay to $231,968, according to the union's filing. Ilyanne Kichaven, executive director of the Hollywood division, was paid $184,556, up 17%, while general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland's pay climbed 11% to $241,962. The figures include salary, bonuses and payments for accrued vacation time.

Former Executive Director Allen was SAG's highest-paid official, earning $593,363, up 30% from the previous fiscal year, though that included part of his severance pay and accrued vacation time in addition to a 5% annual increase he was entitled to receive under his contract. Allen was fired by the board in January amid mounting criticism of his negotiating style and leadership skills.

SAG officials declined to comment on the pay increases, as did Allen. Two people close to the guild said several executives received higher pay because of added duties. Rodriguez, for example, assumed a greater role in leading contract negotiations with Allen.

Allen was not the highest-paid Hollywood union executive last year. That honor went to Jay Roth, executive director of the Directors Guild of America, who was paid $636,266 in 2008, up 3% from 2007.

The Directors Guild, which ended its year with a nearly $3-million surplus and did not have any layoffs, gave pay increases ranging from 3% to 13% to various executives, according to its Labor Department filing.

David Young, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, West, also got a 3% raise, earning $421,206 in the year ended March 31. The Writers Guild generated a $5.1-million deficit in the last fiscal year. To cut costs, the guild laid off about 20 workers.

Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, executive director of AFTRA, the emerging rival to SAG, was the lowest paid among the talent guild executives. She earned $349,808 in the year ended April 30, 5% higher than a year ago. Several other AFTRA executives got pay increases ranging from 3% to 6%.

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richard.verrier@latimes.com

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