Disney Stripped DeSantis’ Chosen Council Of Power: NPR
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Board members chosen by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to oversee the governance of Walt Disney World said Wednesday that their Disney-controlled predecessors had forced swift action on them by passing covenants that strip the new board of many of its powers.
Current supervisors of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District told a meeting that their predecessors last month signed a development agreement with the company that gave Disney maximum development power over the park complex’s 27,000 acres in theme in Central Florida.
The five supervisors were appointed by the Republican governor to the board after the Florida legislature reshuffled Disney’s government in retaliation for the entertainment giant’s public opposition to so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation that prohibits teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten. third year, as well as courses deemed unsuitable for age.
By taking on Disney, DeSantis cemented his reputation as a culture warrior willing to fight perceived political enemies and wield the power of state government to achieve political goals, a strategy that is likely to continue ahead of his potential run to the top. White House.
The new supervisors replaced a council that had been controlled by Disney for the previous 55 years that the government operated as the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The new board members held their first meeting earlier this month and said they learned about the agreement after their appointment.
“We’re going to have to deal with it and fix it,” board member Brian Aungst said Wednesday. “It is a subversion of the will of the voters, of the Legislative Assembly and of the governor. It completely circumvents the authority of this council to govern.”
In a statement, Disney said all deals were above board and took place in public.
“All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate and were discussed and approved in open and public forums that were observed in accordance with the Florida government’s Sunshine Law,” the statement said.
Separately, Disney World service workers voted Wednesday on whether to accept a union contract offer that would raise the minimum starting wage to $18 an hour by the end of the year.
The agreement covers approximately 45,000 Disney theme park resort service workers, including costume performers who play the role of Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters, bus drivers, culinary workers, lifeguards, theater workers and cleaners in hotels.
The workers could see their hourly wages increase by between $5.50 and $8.60 an hour by the end of the five-year contract if it is approved, according to union leaders.
A contract approved five years ago made Disney the first major employer in Central Florida to agree to a minimum hourly wage of $15, setting the trend for other workers in the area dominated by hospitality jobs.