The International Cinematographers Guild has found that former secretary-treasurer Alan Gitlin stole $3,300 in guild funds, resulting in his removal from the national board and an order to make restitution.
The guild, which operates at Local 600 of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, said Monday that it has reviewed and updated its existing financial oversight practices to ensure that a situation like this does not occur again in the future.
“The system worked as it was supposed to,” said Steven Poster, national president. “This matter is being handled appropriately by the NEB.”
The guild is the largest crafts union in Hollywood with more than 6,000 members. Gitlin was defeated last year for re-election to the secretary-treasurer’s post. Gitlin has extensive credits including “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and “Mission: Impossible III.”
Poster sent an email to members after the national board meeting. The email follows:
“Over this past weekend, while millions of women marched throughout America, your National Executive Board met in Hollywood. The two-day session was by turns difficult and productive. That is to be expected. Making important decisions sometimes requires difficult debate. The question for us is how we come back together after that debate to do the work of the members.
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You will undoubtedly hear about disciplinary action taken against our former Secretary-Treasurer Alan Gitlin. When Alan left office, he was allowed to purchase from the Guild a laptop and notebook assigned to the Secretary-Treasurer’s office. He failed to pay for that equipment. He was also in possession of some credit card points that should have been returned, in some form, to the union. He failed to do so or to make the union whole for their value. The total value of both was approximately $3,300.
I provide this information not because I take any pleasure in the situation, but to assure you that your union’s officers and staff work hard to protect the assets of your union and make sure your dues are spent wisely. Our staff demanded that Alan pay for the equipment and points, and when he didn’t brought Alan’s conduct to the attention of Guild officers. The Board meted out harsh punishment against a long-time union officer for his transgressions. I, along with Secretary Treasurer Avila, signed the charges despite my many years of working closely with Alan. In other words, the system worked exactly as it should have.
After the business of the trial was concluded we returned, as we have over the last year, to the business of moving the union forward. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by an internal dispute that does not serve any purpose except to tear down our reputation with the other IA Locals, the International and our members. If others want to make the actions of one individual their “smoking gun” so be it. The rest of us will be preparing for negotiations in 2018, working with our fellow locals to identify and mutually support shared issues, asking our members what they want to see us focus on in bargaining, continuing to use small working groups to tackle big problems and collaborating – elected leaders and staff – to advance the principles that really matter – unity, safety, diversity and economic opportunity. That’s what the marches were about and that is what the union is about.”
The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.