Posted: Fri., Nov. 16, 2012, 1:12pm PT
SAG pension manager ankles
Longtime official Marianna Edwards departs post
By Dave McNary
Marianna Edwards, the longtime manager of the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Pension plan, has departed her post.
Christopher Dowdell, CEO of the pension and health plans, confirmed to Variety that Edwards is no longer with the pension plan but provided no further details.
The SAG health plan covers about 40,000 participants and has assets of more than $2 billion, while the retirement plan pays pensions to an estimated 9,000 beneficiaries.
Edwards’ departure comes with trustees of the SAG and AFTRA health and retirement plans — operated separately from the union with an equal number of reps from the producers and the union — attempting to merge the separate plans in the wake of union leaders requesting that they take such a step.
Proponents of the merger, approved in March, touted the combined SAG-AFTRA as having more power than the individual unions and asserted that combining the unions would be a first step toward combining the separate SAG and AFTRA health and retirement plans — and move toward solving the problem of performers not qualifying for coverage under the separate plans.
Dowdell replaced Bruce Dow in April, stepping up from chief operating office slot after Dow resigned.
The pension and health plans were sued earlier this year by a former executive Craig Simmons for alleged wrongful termination. Simmons had filed a complaint with the federal government last year, asserting he was terminated for acting as a whistleblower about alleged embezzlement at the fund; the board of trustees has repeatedly denied Simmons’ allegations.
Contact Dave McNary at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Mr. McNary for sticking with this story and finally getting a confirmation from SAG. Here’s what we reported back on 25 October, 2012:
“The Ol’ SAG Watchdog has learned that Mariana Edwards, SAG Pension Manager, has resigned her position as of yesterday. I was told that Ms. Edwards left after 27 years. And even though she was told that she was indispensable to SAG, as in, she would be the only person with the expertise to transition to merger of the plans regarding pensions, she said “no!!”
The Ol’ Dog was told the reason that she left was, in her words, “AFTRA is taking over SAG P&H.”
She then apparently said that the SAG P&H staff, had no idea that would happen and that the plan was in the red two years ago, and therefore Erisa law dictates no discussion of merging the plans until 2015.
Look those were the things that I was told: here is what I found out after calling the SAG P&H office in Burbank. Ms. Edwards, indeed is no longer there! She packed her stuff and left yesterday. Other than that NOTHING!
After, a little barking, the Ol’ Dog was told that someone with authority to answer my questions would call me later in the day! Ahhh, still waiting!!!
Oh, by the way I am still waiting! As to the Ms. Edward’s incident, I first learned about it on my favorite SAG Actor Bulletin Board discussion www.sagactor.com
The Ol’ SAG Watchdog
Watchdog Little known fact: Fox’s Sean Hannity holds the world record for saying the word Benghazi!!!