DeSantis-appointed board governing Disney properties hires new administrator
The board appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year to take over the special district that governs and imposes taxes on Disney's properties in Central Florida has a new administrator.
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board hired a new administrator but kept the previous one on as an adviser still making his old salary.
The new administrator is Glen Gilzean Jr., who was president and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League. He begins the new job immediately at $400,000 a year.
Gilzean is chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics. He was also appointed by DeSantis to serve on the Re-Open Florida Task Force and the Florida Census Complete Count Committee, according to Gilzean's bio, from the Urban League website.
He replaces John H. Classe Jr., who received praise from the board for his help during the transition from Disney control. The board also approved a one-year contract for Classe.
Gilzean says he wants to study the district's regional impact.
"Perhaps the most important new initiative of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, and one that's closest to my heart," he said at Wednesday's board meeting, "is the commitment to hire an independent urban planner to make sure that our district can grow via the addition of affordable workforce housing for our community."
The board is also reviewing utility rates and negotiating a new contract with firefighters.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. is challenging the move to create the new board — and its authority — in federal court. The company cites political retaliation from the governor and GOP lawmakers for its free speech on a political issue.
Disney's former CEO opposed a law last year that banned instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity through the third grade. Since then, the state has extended that ban — for most teachers — all the way though high school.