The Reedy Creek Fire Fighters showed up in force to today’s Central Florida Tourism Oversight District meeting to speak out against District Administrator Glen Gilzean’s announcement that District employers would no longer have theme park passes.
Pete Simon lieutenant paramedic with the Reedy Creek Fire Department called the removal of benefits “the first brick in the dismantling of the district”.
Aaron Clark, a firefighter with the Reedy Creek Fire Department, spoke about the generational benefits and memories that he made with his dad in the theme parks and the dream to work as a firefighter to make memories with his children in the theme parks.
Ricky Clark, Aaron Clark’s dad, also spoke about the longevity benefit that was earned by firefighters that Gilzean and the CFTOD Board of Supervisors aimed to remove. Clark asked the Board to reconsider the removal of the theme park pass benefits.
Other public speakers called the removal of theme park passes a “low blow” to the public servants who keep theme park guests safe.
In a press release, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District called the employee theme park passes a “scheme to funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to Disney”.
Martin Garcia, the Chair of the CFTOD Board of Supervisors put the onus on the RCFD union negotiators, calling the negotiators “capable”.
Garcia said that the policy change breaks down to three reasons:
- Policy benefited one business – Disney. Garcia said that the pass was exclusive to Disney and that employees couldn’t use the pass at another location – like a restaurant.
- Policy was inequitable to employees. Employees with larger families gained a larger benefit. Larger families could get “value” of up to $3,000, while the value for smaller families was under $1,000.
- Policy had the potential of endorsing something “illegal” – a private company can not give gifts to public workers. Garcia said that there was a notion that a private company was providing something “free” to public servants
Paychecks will be increased by $1,425 to make up for the loss of the Annual Pass benefit. Garcia said that the Board would continue to evaluate the gross pay bump and see if it needs to be increased.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!