DeSantis' CFTOD District Administrator claims employee morale has increased despite reports of half of its senior leadership leaving

Nov 15, 2023 in "Reedy Creek Improvement District"

Posted: Wednesday November 15, 2023 11:42am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Speaking at today's Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board of supervisors meeting, the district administrator, Glen Gilzean, said that morale at the district has increased since taking over Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Gilzean pointed to his open-door policy and said that some staff have shared that this was the first time they've had a chance to meet with the district administrator.

Gilzean said, "I have met with multiple departments across the district for our coffee and conversation, collecting countless amounts of feedback and acting on it as we increase the employees' well-being and work-life balance. Meeting with the fire department in the evening for dinner and on weekends. All have further increased morale throughout the district."

Today's comments come amid numerous recent reports of mass resignations. Over thirty employees have resigned from the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District since the DeSantis-appointed board took over. Departures include almost half of the district's senior leadership following Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' controversial takeover of the district, raising serious concerns about operational stability and political influence.

Previously known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, CFTOD has seen departures at every level - from the district administrator and chief financial officer to crucial roles in public works, procurement, and facilities management.

In a publically released employee exit survey, a former executive assistant at CFTOD said, "The legacy of this special district is being destroyed by those who have been placed in power here. The Board of Supervisors and the new District Administrator could care less about the work that needs to be done for the taxpayers. They claim transparency and bridge building; I see non-transparency and bridge burning."

The district encompasses approximately 25,000 acres in both Orange and Osceola counties, servicing 24 landowners, including Walt Disney World.

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StripesJun 18, 2024

What? The new development agreement is based on the existing 2020 Comprehensive plan. There’s just a blurb in there that the district and Disney will amend the agreement in order to give Disney even more development rights once the new comprehensive plan is effective.

mktJun 18, 2024

They are not. And the politization of day to day is affecting morale across the other civil servants. I personally know of two ex-RCID/current-CFTOD employees that are taking an early retirement and starting the same job with a different private or public sector enterprise in the area.

StripesJun 17, 2024

. After the new district took over at the beginning of this mess, Vahle put out a statement that Disney sought to work with the new board on very friendly terms. Disney’s goal was never to continue this fight. Disney promised to do things they were already going to do. It also doesn’t matter because even if Disney doesn’t do what they promised the district can’t prove otherwise until the development agreement expires anyway. The board can’t do much of anything to antagonize Disney anymore. Disney was content to have the new board takeover with guardrails in place at the beginning of this mess. The Florida GOP are once again on Disney’s payroll. There is no risk so long as that continues.

flynnibusJun 17, 2024

Yes I know - which is why I said Disney would be the one to extend the olive branch... the act to initiate and signal a wish to reconcile... Disney knows full well what the union did and the sides they chose... but Disney also knows the union isn't going anywhere... and they know the union has egg on it's face. When your opposition is knocked down and deflated... being the one to help them back up is often a strong way to reconcile and move beyond the past transgressions.

flynnibusJun 17, 2024

Ehh.. the lawsuits were already done. And of course Disney only sued after the state attacked the developer agreement... they can't sue for a contract being violated before it was :) Disney made a pre-emptive strike at the district level with the developer agreement... they fired the first shots.. just not in court. No, Disney still has to deal with the district, and whomever the state decides to sit there.. and all the 'how can they make life worse for disney' points are all still the same. Nothing that happened since RCID was torn down touched anything in the comprehensive plan that was in place and the only portion of the new developer agreement that really matters is it locks in new land management minimums for the property as a whole. Disney basically promised 8 billion dollars and capitulating in return to ensure they get to define the new TBD comprehensive plan like the old days... with their interests at the forefront. Everything else is still as it was with the new District in power... the difference now is right now you have District management that is cooperating with Disney. It's just an example of how far things can swing based on the District's board... they can be completely antagonistic, or they can be completely submissive... all within the same structure. Disney gets to lock up the master plan for the property - but everything else is still at the whim of the Governor because he can swap people to do whatever he pleases. And her job is only as secure as the Governor in office's latest itch. The anti-Disney stance of the last year plus was not because a rogue guy was hired as the district administrator... let's not forget that. Those people were just yes-men who were replaced just as fast as they were put in place when the agenda changed. That risk hasn't changed.

lazyboy97oJun 17, 2024

The firefighters in particular did decide to get involved and oppose Disney.

flynnibusJun 17, 2024

I know they weren't truly employees - I think after 1200 pages we wouldn't be challenging that slang I used. Their benefits here were because Disney gave it to them.. and Disney was hands on in the arrangement.. as well as hands on with the District's management. They were not true employees - but they were in effect, serving at the behest of Disney and Disney calling the shots in this matter. Now that we are past the obvious... Yes, the tax liability has to be addressed since the cat is out of the bag so to speak... but Disney can just gross people up to cover the expense too. It's just a matter of what they want to pay for... and we've already heard how big of a deal it was to those who were getting the benefit. All of this is moving around the elephant in the room.. which is you have hundreds of rank and file employees who weren't part of this anti-disney campaign... but got dragged along with it... and now that their two-faced leaders have done the 180 to tow the new business mandate... I wonder if they will address the employees who lost through this.

StripesJun 17, 2024

Bear in mind, Disney only sued once the district and the state came after the development agreement. Now that a development agreement is back in place (one that is very favorable to Disney) there’s no need to continue the lawsuits as Disney sees it. Bad PR in this age of incredible polarization with little benefit to the business. Disney can once again build whatever they want without government interference. The new administrator has a great relationship with Disney and worked with DeSantis in the past to carve out exceptions in legislation so that new laws wouldn’t apply to Disney. She has basically done their bidding for years.

StripesJun 17, 2024

They were never Disney employees. Disney may allow the district employees to purchase the old passes again with their stipend. But unless the district changes how they calculate the stipend amount, it will never be the same perk.

flynnibusJun 17, 2024

Well, according to the district MANAGEMENT it was - who are no longer there. And the new management has already showed they are willing to to deals that contradict prior discord and agendas and the two parties are collaborating behind closed doors. (which ironically - that's the biggest thing the GOP HASN'T fixed about the prior district... because now they are part of the gang). Which is why I poised the question... will Disney turn back to its former employees and try to fight to make it happen?

StripesJun 17, 2024

According to the district it was an inappropriate perk to begin with. So I don’t think the firefighters will be getting their Disney perks back. They’re SOL.

flynnibusJun 17, 2024

I wonder if Disney will somehow extend an olive branch to the Firefighters and get them their perks back... or if the district will quietly pivot back on the topic for everyone.

flynnibusJun 17, 2024

This a place for objective reasoning. If you have lines to tow... you're gonna get called out for the non-sense it is.

flynnibusJun 17, 2024

Maybe - but you still haven't listed anything they gained or are better off from where they started though... nor addressed the other things they have lost. Name one thing that is better now for Disney.