Ousted hurricane center chief to return to previous post

The recently ousted head of the National Hurricane Center will return to his previous job as director of the National Weather Service's southern region, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday.

Bill Proenza was removed as director of the National Hurricane Center on July 9, following weeks of controversy surrounding his comments about the center's satellite system. Proenza called the eight-year-old QuickSCAT system, meant to monitor the climate and assist in ocean research and weather prediction, outdated. His comments drew criticism from higher-ups at NOAA and colleagues, who questioned his leadership skills.

While Proenza asked to be reinstated at the National Hurricane Center or the Weather Service's southern region, it was initially expected that he would be assigned to be training chief for the Silver Spring, Md.-based Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services.

Following a joint hearing of two House Science and Technology subcommittees on July 19 to determine if Proenza had inappropriately discussed the need for system upgrades with the media, key Democratic lawmakers advocated reinstating him as southern regional director of NWS.

Reps. Nick Lampson, D-Texas, and Brad Miller, D-N.C., chairmen of the subcommittees on Energy and the Environment and on Investigations and Oversight, and Bart Gordon, chairman of the full committee, issued a statement Monday applauding NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher for returning Proenza to the regional directorship.

"We are pleased that NOAA is sending Mr. Proenza back to the southern region," the representatives said. "His experience and talents were too important for the weather service to lose, and he was widely admired for his work in the region."

The southern region covers a quarter of the continental United States and is responsible for areas particularly vulnerable to hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, fire and flash floods.

The representatives said it would have been "grossly unfair" to give Proenza a significant demotion, given that the investigation into his dismissal is still ongoing. The subcommittees are continuing to look into his removal, and the chairmen vowed to watch the search for a new hurricane center director carefully.

Proenza served as the director of the southern region for nine years prior to his six-month stint as director of the hurricane center.

"Bill Proenza has a record of outstanding performance while director of the National Weather Service's southern region," Lautenbacher said. "Having him return to the region is the best way for NOAA to continue to benefit from his skills."

Proenza said he was "gratified" to be returning to the career he knows and loves.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.