District Chief Responds to Accusations that DeSantis’ Reedy Creek Is “Incompetent”

Since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appointed the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board (CFTOD), we’ve seen multiple changes in the district that governs Disney World.

©Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board Livestream

Reports have come from within the district that it is no longer functional after a mass exodus of employees left their positions. But now, one DeSantis appointee is saying that’s not the case — here’s what we know.

Before becoming district chief of the CFTOD, Glen Gilzean worked for the Florida Ethics Commission. He resigned after being advised that public employees could not serve on government watchdog panels. Later, a different member of the Florida Ethics Commission, Freddie Figgers, was hired by the district to develop a system that would improve wireless 911 calls.

©Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board | Glen Gilzean

After word got out about this conflict of interest, the contract with Freddie Figgers was canceled, and then we learned that more than 30 district employees had resigned over one weekend — including nearly half of the senior leadership team.

The combined group represented more than 350 years of experience, and we know that about a tenth of the district’s workforce has resigned in the past nine months. In exit surveys available through public records, departing employees called leadership “unqualified and incompetent,” and said that “With the departure of more than 3 dozen employees, the district is no longer functional.”

©Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

However, Gilzean says that’s not the case. Per the Orlando Sentinel, Gilzean shared he believes “morale has improved” at the CFTOD. He specifically mentioned new policies that he says have “boosted employee well-being and work-life balance,” just six months into his tenure.

Glen Gilzean ©Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board Livestream

“The morale in the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has… increased as my open-door policy continues to be utilized by staff members who have met with me directly,” Gilzean said at a board meeting. “Some staff have shared that this is the first time they’ve actually had a chance to meet with the district administrator.”

He touted the paid day off employees received on Veteran’s Day along with an extra day off around Thanksgiving as reasons for the morale boost.

Reedy Creek Improvement District

But, that doesn’t change the fact that about 10% of the district’s total workforce has left since being taken over by DeSantis and his appointees such as Gilzean. He was hired in May 2023 to serve as the district’s administrator — his candidacy was bolstered by Mike Sasso, then-vice chair of the board and best man in Gilzean’s wedding. Sasso later resigned from the board when his wife, Meredith Sasso, was named to the Florida Supreme Court.

Disney vs. DeSantis

We’ll be keeping an eye out for more updates on DeSantis’ board and will let you know of any changes. Stay tuned to DFB for the latest news from Disney World and more.

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