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Front-Runner Rejects SAG Post

Times Staff Writer

In a setback for the Screen Actors Guild, Steve Diamond, an associate law professor and an advisor to the AFL-CIO, has removed himself from the running for the union’s top staff position.

Although Diamond was the leading candidate to be the guild’s executive director, he could not reach agreement with the union on the terms of his contract.

Sources close to the guild said Diamond withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday after seeking a higher salary than the union was willing to pay.

SAG spokesman Seth Oster declined to comment on Diamond but said, “We’re very fortunate that there’s no lack of interest among strong candidates for this position. The search continues.”

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Diamond was set to fill a position left vacant last year after the ouster of former Chief Executive Greg Hessinger.

Hessinger had been on the job for six months when the guild’s newly elected leaders fired him, vowing to take a tougher line in talks with the studios.

Diamond was seen by many union members as someone with the diplomatic skills to navigate the union’s warring factions.

“I’m sorry at this point that things haven’t worked out,” said Paul Christie, president of SAG’s New York chapter. “I liked Steve Diamond a lot.”

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Others known to have been considered for the position include state Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City) and Laura Zucker, executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.


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