Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer bet big on his venues projects, nearly bankrupting the city in debt and definitely tying our hands locally for years to come due to his financial arrangements. Having the COVID-19 crisis shut down tourism and hospitality industries only makes Orlando’s recovery even harder in general, but the coronavirus is also a major threat to the city’s venues as events, concerts, plays and more all shut down.
Despite all the closures and cancellations, the Orlando Venues executives and staff are still making big money. Mayor Dyer’s office confirmed this week there have been no furloughs and no changes to employee status or pay due to coronavirus. Mayor Dyer is also not forecasting any significant budget issues due to the pandemic.
That must be why Allen Johnson, Chief Venues Officer, made $83,544 from January to April this year. Johnson continues to make more than $110/hour during the pandemic and venues closures. The City of Orlando confirmed through public records requests that there are no pandemic or disaster plans for the Orlando Venues, which is not very reassuring considering how much money Johnson is still making.
Johnson’s Deputy Chief Venues Officer Craig Borkon has long benefited from cronyism, as he got the job with no experience and no college degree because he worked on one of Dyer’s re-election campaigns. Borkon made $63,351 from January to April this year during the COVID-19 shutdown. Dyer’s political crony continues to make $84.13/hour currently during the pandemic. The other Deputy Chief Venues Officer, Charles Leone, is making $88.64/hour and made more than $66,000 from January to April 2020.
The Orlando Venues are not paying much to their lowest paid employees, including temporary and seasonal staff. [UPDATE: More Amway Center Layoffs & Pay Cuts While Orlando Venues Executives Make Big Bucks During Pandemic]
Who knew a worldwide pandemic that shut down mass gatherings and events would be so beneficial for those working for the Orlando Venues? Is it a good sign about the current crisis from our local leadership? At least Orlando taxpayers can be relieved that there will be no budget problems or any need for Dyer to raise additional revenues due to coronavirus, right?
Here’s a summary of Orlando Venues pay from January 2020 to April 2020: PRR #20-3233. For a reference of the hourly pay rates for Orlando Venues’ highest paid employees:
|Venues Employee Name||Job Title||Hourly Pay|
|Walter A Johnson||Chief Venues Officer||$110.32|
|Charles P Leone Jr.||Deputy Chief Venues Officer||$88.64|
|Craig H Borkon||Deputy Chief Venues Officer||$84.13|
|Clyde J Boutte||Venues Business Division Manager||$70.49|
|Robert E Bowden||Leu Gardens Executive Director||$66.90|
|Kevin Brown||Venues Booking/Revenue Development Division Manager||$64.55|
|Kirk E Wingerson||Venues Marketing Division Manager||$63.03|
|Shannon Fitzgerald||Museum Director||$57.30|
|Ollie J Rives III||Facility Manager||$52.55|
|Michael Weeman||Venues Guest Experience Division Manager||$50.48|
|Cary L Clark||Box Office Manager||$43.24|
|Matthew R. Larsen||Stadium Operations Manager||$42.58|
|Tanya D Bowley||Venues Marketing Manager||$39.33|
|Mark E Smith||Accountant III||$37.90|
|Adolfina Ortiz||Administrative Specialist – CVO||$37.52|
|Kathryn Carlson||Venues Security Manager||$37.26|
|Tracy L Micciche||Leu Gardens Events Coordinator||$37.04|
|Michael A. Senay||Venues Operations Manager||$36.36|
|Miguel Williams||Fiscal Manager Departmental||$35.10|
|Greg Pampalone||Engineering Manager||$34.05|
|Jennie T Callahan||Venues Event Manager Senior||$33.69|
|Amanda Kathleen Horning||Venues Event Manager Senior||$33.66|
|Melinda G Poole||Venues Financial Analyst||$32.57|
|Roberta C Scott||Executive Assistant-Venues||$31.78|
|Ryan Fitzgerald||Venues Event Manager||$31.51|
|Eric Johnson||Box Office Assistant Manager||$30.76|
|David R Lamontagne||Crew Leader||$27.67|