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Employees Call Out DeSantis’s Board for Taking Away Benefits: “You Missed a Key Point”

Glen Gilzean, Ron DeSantis, and Reedy Creek sign
Credit: Disney / National Urban League / Gage Skidmore, Flickr / Canva

Employees of the formerly named Reedy Creek Improvement District called out the new CFTOD board, which was specially hand-picked by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for taking away their benefits.

Ever since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis disbanded the Reedy Creek Improvement District board and replaced it with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board—with members he specially hand-picked—there has been much news about the changes being made to the district. One of the more recent changes included the apparent removal of employee benefits for Reedy Creek Improvement District—i.e., Central Florida Tourism Oversight District—employees.

reedy creek improvement district disney desantis

Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort / Credit: Disney

Related: Reedy Creek Firefighter Passionately Defends Perks DeSantis’ Disney Board Called ‘Scheme’

Many employees have spoken out about the board practically picking a fight with these Disney employees or, more accurately, the Reedy Creek Improvement District employees.

As was many worried when this change was announced, the shift and removal of perks seemed to not only impact current employees but also make things more difficult for retired employees, i.e., it ostensibly messed with former employees’ pensions.

Many employees have spoken out about this and called out the board for this oversight.

desantis losing disney fight

Disney CEO Bob Iger, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis / Credit: Disney; Flickr, Gage Skidmore

“Mr. Chair Garcia, respectfully, your board has missed a key point. The previous district was committed to supporting staff and retirees, not just the union side, but equally non-union workers like myself,” retiree Jeff Holland said while speaking to the Central Florida Tourism District Oversight board, “They saw the value in giving a little extra in retiree benefits and perks and how it retained quality workers.”

However, as WESH reported, CFTOD board chair Garcia made clear during the meeting that, at present, only the annual passes for employees, retirees, and their families were being discontinued.

“The only decision that’s been made, by this board, is that the passes will be discontinued,” said Martin Garcia, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District chair.

Tusker House Animal Kingdom

Tusker House, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park / Credit: Disney

“Initially, in the past, there was a $2.5 million appropriations to pay for these passes directly from the government to Disney. What we felt, after doing an analysis, that only 30% of people actually utilize these passes, we said, how can we find a way to enhance it,” said Glen Gilzean, a Central Florida Tourism Oversight District administrator.

Rather than giving families annual passes to Disney World, the board proposed “a stipend of $1,400, maybe even more, which would go directly into the paychecks of 412 employees.”

“Give us a little time. We’re working through it. We are trying to come up with something that’s going to be a really good plan,” said Ron Peri, a Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board member.

The plan will be laid out in full during the meeting on September 27.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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