National Weather Service exec fired after controversial comments

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP File Photo

A National Weather Service executive was fired on Feb. 1, days after saying budget cuts to the agency could threaten critical public services, according to the Washington Post.

William Proenza, the former Director of the Southern Region at the National Weather Service, told the Post last week that across-the-board cuts from sequestration were “penny-wise and pound-foolish” and would “degrade [the agency’s] capacity to deliver our mission.” 

Proenza said told the paper he was planning to limit certain weather radars after his second quarter budget fell by $1 million from the same period last year. He told the Post he was “crossing his fingers” hoping that no unexpected storms would pass through while the radars were switched off.

NWS Acting Director Laura Furgione told the Post that Proenza’s dismissal was due to other factors, citing mismanagement of money. Proenza maintained that the timing was “suspicious.”

Proenza is no stranger to controversy. In 2007, while serving as the director of the National Hurricane Center, he criticized the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration for wasteful spending and for ignoring what he felt were critical issues involving a hurricane satellite. 

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