Glen Gilzean resigns from Ethics Commissions, stays on special district board

by | Aug 22, 2023

  • Glen Gilzean, Executive Director of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD), has resigned from his position on Florida’s Commission on Ethics due to a breach of state regulations.
  • Gilzean’s resignation follows a memo from the Commission’s legal counsel stating that holding both roles concurrently is prohibited by state statute as it constitutes public employment, which is not allowed for Commission members.
  • Gilzean had sought guidance from the Ethics Commission’s legal experts after concerns about his potential conflict of interest were highlighted by an investigative outlet. Upon receiving clarification, he decided to resign from the Commission on Ethics effective immediately.

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) Executive Director Glen Gilzean resigned from his position on Florida’s Commission on Ethics on Tuesday, less than a week after General Counsel for Commission opined that he is unable to serve in both roles due to a breach of state regulations.

In a letter obtained by The Capitolist and addressed to the Executive Office of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Gilzean pointed out that there was insufficient notification regarding a conflict of interest, even though consultation with CFTOD’s General Counsel had taken place before his hiring.

“The potential for a conflict between my position with The District and with my service on the Commission on Ethics did not come up at that time with any of the counsel that I consulted, including the Commission’s General Counsel,” wrote Gilzean. “At the time of accepting my position at CFTOD, it was my understanding that there was no issue in continuing to serve as a member of the Florida Commission on Ethics.”

The Commission’s legal counsel issued a memorandum last week affirming that Gilzean’s presence in both roles is prohibited by state statute, which stipulates that a commission member cannot concurrently engage in any form of public employment.

“The Agreement [to join CFTOD in an administrative role] refers to your relationship with the District as “employment” and your status as an “employee.” According to the terms of the Agreement, you report directly to the Board of Supervisors, serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the District,” reads the memo. “Florida Statutes states that no member [of the Commission on Ethics] may hold any public employment. For the reasons explained above, it appears that your position as District Administrator for the District is public employment.”

The issue arose after investigative outlet The Florida Bulldog highlighted concerns about Gilzean’s standing. Gilzean subsequently sought guidance from the Ethics Commission’s legal experts, culminating in the legal determination.

Gilzean stated that upon seeing media reports on the potential conflict, he consulted with the Commission on Ethics General Counsel once again, seeking clarity on the matter.

“Upon seeing media reports and learning that an issue between the two positions may exist, I immediately requested a legal opinion,” he said, later adding that “After reviewing the matter, I have decided that prudence dictates that I discontinue serving in one of the positions. Therefore, I respectfully tender my resignation from the Florida Commission on Ethics, effective immediately.”

Gilzean’s agreement with CFTOD details an annual salary of $400,000; the possibility of severance, should he lose his job; and refers to him as an employee for an unspecified length of time. Within Gilzean’s outreach to Steven Zuilkowskli of the General Counsel, he stated that he sought to avoid a “conflict of interest.”

“In an abundance of caution and in light of concerns that were raised today, will you please provide me a written legal opinion … as to whether I can continue to serve on the Commission,” he wrote.

Gilzean was initially appointed to the Commission in 2019 before being reappointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. He is scheduled to fulfill the duties of the position through June 2024. As of Friday morning, Gilzean has not made a public announcement regarding whether or not he intends to resign from one, or both, of his roles.


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