I can’t think of anything Gov. Ron DeSantis has ever done that wasn’t all about boosting his anti-woke MAGA cred. If the firefighters of the Disney district thought they were anything but pawns in DeSantis’ fascist war on Disney, they’ve just had a rude awakening.
From Orlando Weekly:
The decision, announced Monday, was another twist after the newly created Central Florida Tourism Oversight District succeeded the former Reedy Creek Improvement District amid a feud between Gov. Ron DeSantis and Disney. The Reedy Creek district was closely aligned with Disney.
The firefighters said Wednesday that the park-related benefits were long viewed as an incentive to work for Reedy Creek. Pete Simon, a lieutenant paramedic with the Reedy Creek Fire Department, said when the district changed hands, firefighters supported the move because they were “being stonewalled” by former district leaders and that “we were told that our jobs and our benefits were safe.”
“When I was applying here and got a job offer, I sat down and did a pros and cons list,” Simon said. “My top three pros were a step (pay) plan, better insurance because we offer dental and vision, and the kicker for me was that I’d be able to take my family to the parks, my three little girls to the parks. This benefit is intangible and intergenerational.”
Ironically, the DeSantis-crony chairman of the district claims the move is about equity and discrimination because not everyone used the passes and smaller families get less. He also said he’s working on pay increases for the firefighters, though the board hasn’t figured out the right amount, nor how to compensate the retirees who previously had lifetime passes.
But it’s obvious that the real goal is to stick it to Disney further. A news release from the district last week “included an invoice dated Dec. 31, 2021, from Disney for $533,522, including $492,383 for tickets,” Orlando Weekly reported. A previous article noted that the new district sent a referral to the Florida inspector general complaining that the Disney-run district had used taxpayer funds for “perks and benefits” that were “funneled back to Disney.”