EXCLUSIVE: The Art Directors Guild will re-run December’s officers election – the second time this year the guild will hold an election mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Acting on a complaint from a member, the DOL launched an investigation and found flaws in the way the electronic balloting was conducted. It told the guild to re-do the election or face a federal lawsuit, and Wednesday night the guild’s board of directors voted to comply.
In December, candidates loyal to then-executive director Scott Roth were swept into office. Nelson Coates was elected president, defeating incumbent Mimi Gramatky, and Oana Bogdan was elected treasurer, defeating incumbent Cate Bangs. Also elected were vice president Patrick DeGreve and secretary Thomas Wilkins.
Since then, however, Roth and many of his supporters on the board were swept out of office in another DOL-mandated election.
In ordering a re-run of the officers election, the DOL found that the electronic voting had been conducted in violation of two provisions of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act.
“The union failed to elect the officers by secret ballot in that every voter could be linked to their electronic vote maintained within the VoteNet Solutions database system, in violation of Section 401(b) of the LMRDA,” the DOL said in a letter to the guild. The DOL also found that “the union failed to maintain for one year all computerized election records within the VoteNet Solutions data base system, and paper ballot election records, in violation of Section 401(c) of the LMRDA.”The guild is expected to hold the re-run of the officers election in December, concurrent with a previously scheduled election of trustees. All members are eligible to run – not just those who took part in the initial races for president, vice president, treasurer and secretary.
Roth, the guild’s longtime executive director, was voted out of office in June – the first time he’d ever had to stand for election, having served at the pleasure of the board since 1997. The DOL, however, determined that Roth was an “officer” of the IATSE local and not an “employee” as defined by the LMRDA, and had to be elected by the members. He was soundly defeated in June by challenger Chuck Parker, a veteran production designer who campaigned on turning the guild over to its members.
In that election, many of Parker’s allies also won seats on the board of directors. And like Roth, before the DOL-mandated election, those board members weren’t elected directly by the guild’s members either.