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

Reedy Creek Firefighter defends Disney Perks
Credit: Reedy Creek Fire Department

Earlier this week, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District issued a scathing press release and made a referral to the Florida Inspector General over what it called a “scheme to funnel millions of taxpayers dollars” for use by employees at Walt Disney World. But in an email to those employees, the Board, hand-picked by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, said that it was doing away with those perks and instead giving each employee $1,000 of taxpayer money to do “whatever they chose.”

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s issue was with a bill for $2.5 million from Disney World for employee perks. The former governing body, The Reedy Creek Improvement Association, gave employees season passes and discounts on hotel rooms, food, and merchandise. Disney would then bill the Board for those discounts.

But as the dust from that initial storm started to clear, this wasn’t a “scheme” as described by the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. Still, instead, it was an employee benefit that all employees received and is even available to retirees of the District.

Richard Foglesong, a Rollins College professor emeritus who wrote a definitive account of Disney World’s governance in his book Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando, told Fortune Magazine:

The arrangement appears to be more like an employee benefit rather than a taxpayer scam, similar to the way professors at a university may get free passes to athletic events or free tuition for family members.

This morning, Reedy Creek firefighter Pete Simon spoke out against cutting benefits and the overall changes made in the District since the CFTOD took over for Reedy Creek.

Simon of the Reedy Creek Fire Department said:

We have retirees who worked their entire careers and earned this benefit for the rest of their lives. When the District changed hands last year, we were told that our jobs and our benefits were safe. We were promised that this new administration was going to make this place better. All we’ve seen and heard is cuts. Cuts to budgets, cuts to staffing, cuts to maintenance, and now cuts to benefits. This week marks the first brick being pulled in the dismantling of the district … my only question is, what’s next?

DeSantis board fighting with Disney Firefighters

Credit: Elisfkc, Flickr

This is not the first time the DeSantis appointees have encountered problems with the Reedy Creek Professional firefighters. The firefighters union had agreed to a new contract with the board members, only the Board backed out, and the two sides had to renegotiate.

The Walt Disney Company recently sued the Board seeking damages for the new Disney governing Board allegedly violated the Florida Constitution and Disney’s contract with the state and the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Disney has also sued the Board and Gov Ron DeSantis in Federal Court.

We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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