Home > Dissolution Local 600, Election 2010, Green Ballot 600, Steven Poster > Doug Hart’s Local 600 Independent Audit Report

Doug Hart’s Local 600 Independent Audit Report

April 24, 2010

Have you ever wondered where the dues and assessment money you pay into Local 600 actually goes?

Well, as a Member of the National Executive Board (NEB), I get this question from Members quite often, and it is always difficult to find an acceptable or even believable answer.

This is what prompted me recently to demand my legal right, as an elected “Director” (NEB Member) of Local 600, to examine the financial bills, receipts and records of this organization.

This was only possible because Local 600 is a “Non-Profit Mutual Benefit Corporation” under California State Law.  President Poster and National Executive Director Bruce Doering are now trying to eliminate that corporate status with their infamous “green ballot measure,” which will forever make it impossible for elected NEB Members to gain access to the financial records of this organization.

I am the ONLY “Director” to have successfully done this so far. I used my legal right to inspect the books during the Dibie administration.  What I am presenting today to the members of Local 600 is my Independent Audit Report conducted in December 2009.

This post is just a summary of my full 14 page Independent Audit Report. If you would like to see the full report email me at DCHart@aol.com and I will email you a copy of the complete Audit Report, after I verify that you are indeed a member of ICG Local 600, either by seeing your entry in the most recent Members Directory, or for new members not yet listed in the Directory, by confirming with ICG 600 staff.

A Labor Union should never have such “secrets” from its members, especially about financial matters, when it involves how the elected and hired  “leadership” of that Labor Union spend the dues and assessment monies collected from members, and spend it they do, as fast and as extravagantly as possible, with absolutely no regard or consideration for the members paying that hard-earned money for legitimate union expenses, and making no attempts at trying to limit expenses to absolute the minimum required to service and benefit our membership.

The annual budget of Local 600 is approaching $12 MILLION per year (THAT’S A MILLION DOLLARS A MONTH) for our 4 offices nationwide, staff salaries & perks, computer system (the new computer system is now about HALF A MILLION DOLLARS OVER BUDGET, and over a year late), costs of meetings, air travel, the ICG Magazine (which usually LOSES us between $400K and $500K a year), mailings, training and organizing expenses, etc. Who is minding the store?  

No mention is ever made about the need to cut costs to save some of the hard-earned Members’ money in this lousy economy, and in this industry (although Hollywood has broken yet another profit record in 2009), while we are facing throwing over 10% of our Membership off the Health Plan, by being forced to accept the world’s worst showbiz union contract in history.

No suggestions are ever made for implementing changes to our operating system to save some of our Members’ money, no visible efforts are taken by our officers or staff to limit outrageous and unnecessary air travel expenses and hotel rooms ($2000 air tickets and $300 a night hotels are NOT uncommon).

If you’re ready now to read the entire 14 page report to see the outrageous itemized expenditures of our staff and officers for 22 events over 2 years, email me at DCHart@aol.com and I will email you a copy of my 14 page Independent Audit Report, after I verify that you are indeed a member of ICG Local 600, either by seeing your entry in the most recent Members Directory, or for new members not yet listed in the Directory, by confirming with ICG 600 staff.

No attempts have been made at saving money by reducing the number of officers and staff sent, at great expense, to distant trade shows, training sessions and/or meetings, no attempt is ever made at reducing the number of Local 600-paid lunches, dinners and “entertainment” expenses ($500 restaurant and bar tabs are not uncommon), or any of the many other obvious and simple ways to save money.

Our staff and officers are, and always have been, treating Local 600 as if it were a mortgage bank or insurance company, with a bottomless pit of corporate mega profits to spend at their whim, and if it runs out, it will be mysteriously replenished.  Unfortunately for us, the federal government is not likely to “Bail Out” labor unions like ours, the way they have bailed out banks and insurance companies.  Any “bail out” will have to come from you, the Members.

Are the Members not entitled to a little consideration and responsibility by our money-spenders (upper level staff, officers and NEB), to try and cut back on some of the current excesses, at the very least, with the application of a little common sense?

To see outrageous expenses like a round trip ticket of over $3000 from LA to New York by a Regional Director, email me at DCHart@aol.com and I will email you a complete copy of the Independent Audit Report, after I verify that you are indeed a member of ICG Local 600, either by seeing your entry in the most recent Members Directory, or for new members not yet listed in the Directory, by confirming with ICG 600 staff.

Unfortunately for Local 600 Members, the first elected Trustees have failed miserably at their basic job, which is to see to it that the money-spenders (staff, officers and NEB) are responsible to the money earners and payers (the rank-and-file Membership) for every dime they spend.

These Trustees were “allowed” to set up their own operating rules (responsibilities, number of meetings, etc.), and they did as little as possible, and their very brief meetings, usually by phone, 3 or 4 times a year, usually yield a one- or two-page report to the NEB, which basically says, “Everything is fine; meeting adjourned.”

Their biggest achievement last year, believe it or not, was to PROHIBIT the Trustees from attending any but the June NEB meeting, only one NEB meeting out of three.

International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 IATSE is currently (and has been since 1953, long before the merger in 1996) a “Non-Profit Mutual Benefit Corporation” under California State Law, along with many other labor unions and locals in California, which sounds at first like a terrible idea we should do something about.  Anything with the word “corporation” in it just has to be bad for unions, right?

But, ironically, the Membership of this local union has much BETTER protections under the California Corporation Code laws governing such organizations, than we would have without that status, as the “no-rules Association” Poster wants to create.

Otherwise, why would the Doering/Poster administration now be working so hard to eliminate our corporate status?

A referendum is being voted on with this 2010 Election of Officers and NEB, the so-called “green-ballot measure,which would dissolve our corporate status, in order to “protect” the Local’s financial records from the prying eyes of elected NEB Members like me, and to allow the staff and officers to continue their unlimited spending of YOUR money.

Now that I’ve set up the nature of Local 600’s financial world and how I came to write this report please click on the link to the full PDF report as I go through my findings of 22 events over the last 2 years. I show the truly astounding disregard for the hard earned money of our members that Bruce Doering’s staff and Steven Poster’s administration have shown.

If you would like to see the full 14 page report email me at DCHart@aol.com and I will email you a copy of my Independent Audit Report, after I verify that you are indeed a member of ICG Local 600, either by seeing your entry in the most recent Members Directory, or for new members not yet listed in the Directory, by confirming with ICG 600 staff.

Douglas C. Hart

National Executive Board
ICG Local 600 – Eastern Region – First Camera Assistant
Member of Locals 644, 666 & 600 since 1974 – 36+ years
Elected Officer or Executive Board Member for 32 of those years.

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