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DeSantis’s $400K-A-Year Disney Board Admin MUST STEP DOWN as His Role is Illegal in Florida

man with judge's gavel letter of resignation and the word out
Credit: Canva/CFTOC

The administrator of Disney World’s oversight board in Florida must relinquish his post or resign from his role with the State Ethics Commission, effective immediately, as continuing in both capacities is illegal in the Sunshine State.

DeSantis appointed, Senate confirmed ineligible Gilzean to ethics job

Glen Gilzean (L) and Governor Ron DeSantis (R)/Credit: Florida Bulldog

Glen Gilzean has served as the administrator of Governor Ron DeSantis’s Central Florida Tourism Oversight District–formerly the Reedy Creek Improvement District–since he was appointed by the governor in May 2023. As compensation for Gilzean’s efforts as administrator of the newly-named district, he is paid an annual salary akin to that of the President of the United States: $400,000. But that’s not his only job. Gilzean also serves as chairman of the State of Florida Ethics Commission, a position he’s held since 2019 when Gov. DeSantis appointed him to the post.

But according to an ethics attorney with the state, Gilzean is technically breaking the law.

Florida state statutes prohibit public employees from serving in any capacity on government watchdog panels concurrently. That’s according to an analysis released on Thursday by Florida Ethics Commission attorney Steven Zuilkowski. According to the written analysis, it goes against state statutes for Gilzean to serve as both the administrator of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Committee and the chairman of the state’s ethics committee at the same time.

DeSantis Board Member Must Officially Resign After Ethics Violation

Credit: DisneyFanatic

RELATED: Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida Legislature Make the Development of a Fifth Disney Theme Park ILLEGAL

The official website for the State of Florida’s Ethics Commission confirms this on its “About Us” page, where it is stated that “no member [of the ethics commission] may hold any public employment or serve more than two full terms in succession.” The page further states that “a member may continue to serve after his or her term expires until a replacement is appointed.”

“[I]t appears that [Gilzean’s] position as district administrator for the district is public employment,” Zuilkowski concluded.

Gov. Ron DeSantis initially appointed Gilzean to the ethics commission in August 2019, but his term doesn’t expire until June 2024. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “the nine members of the ethics panel, who do not draw a salary, are appointed by the governor and leaders of the Florida Senate and House.”

Conflict question: DeSantis' Disney district head also ethics chair

Credit: Tallahassee.com

This isn’t the first time a resignation from the new oversight committee for Walt Disney World has been required.

Only three months after DeSantis appointed new board members to oversee the goings-on at the Most Magical Place on Earth, one of the new members suddenly resigned. On May 22 of this year, Michael Sasso–a DeSantis appointee and an attorney with a practice that focuses on “high-stakes litigation” at both the state and federal level–announced his resignation, according to Spectrum News13. Days after Mr. Sasso’s appointment to the new board by Gov. DeSantis, Sasso’s wife, Michelle, was appointed to the Florida State Supreme Court by the governor. Her appointment is said to have been the reason for Mr. Sasso’s resignation.

DeSantis supporter Gilzean began his tenure with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Committee as administrator on May 10, 2023. Following the release of the analysis by the state’s general counsel, attorney Steven Zuilkowski, on Thursday, Gilzean will have to decide which role he will continue and which role he will relinquish. As of the time of this publication, no decision has been made by Gilzean or the governor.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!