The Walt Disney Company is typically known for magic and making dreams come true. Recently, though, some Disney employees feel this is no longer the case. Employees of a specific Walt Disney World division are quitting en masse.
The fight between Walt Disney World and Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has continued for a while. The conflict began when The Walt Disney Company publicially went against the controversial Parental Rights in Education law known to many as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Governor DeSantis worked to take over the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID). This District focused on overseeing essential public services (fire protection, emergency medical services, water production treatment) and environmental protections.
When Governor DeSantis took over Reedy Creek Improvement District, it became the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) with a new board of supervisors appointed by DeSantis himself.
Employees Walk Away
The new district has been underway now for nine months. During this time, more than 30 employees have quit.
These employees have 350 years of experience put together and include almost half of the RCID senior leadership team. The positions range from critical managers involved in training to the District Administrator John Classe and Fire Department Chief Richard LePere.
Why Are They Leaving
Some employees who have walked away are finally speaking out regarding what pushed them to quit. In a recent post by investigative reporter Jason Garcia, it was revealed that many of these employees are leaving due to inept, dishonest, and toxic leadership brought in by DeSantis.
Garcia, in his article, provides answers to exit questions given by some of those employees who left. In these exit surveys, comments such as the following were seen:
“Since the new board has been in place and John Classe has been replaced, the morale and overall feeling of the district has taken a turn. Not a good one.” That survey by a former executive assistant goes on to say, “The legacy of this special district is being destroyed by those who have been placed in power here,” and adds that the Board and new District Administrator Glen Gilzean are “bridge burning” rather than bridge building.
Other employees refer to the fact that with more than three dozen employees leaving, the district isn’t functioning as it should. Fundamental values important to Disney, such as integrity and honesty, aren’t being seen in the new leadership.
These comments are in drastic contrast to how employees speak of their time at Reedy Creek. “This was the best place I’d ever worked,” Eulabel Vargas Maldonado, a former accountant with RCID for three years before quitting, stated. But “things were getting worse as the months passed by.” She added that leaving “made me sad.”
Reedy Creek wasn’t a perfect organization; however, it seems that the new district controlled by DeSantis is facing significant issues. If employees continue to quit, it will be interesting to see how the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) moves forward.