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South Mississippi Living 4/07

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hurricane center chief reassigned amid criticism from staff


MIAMI --The new director of the National Hurricane Center was temporarily reassigned Monday, amid calls from about half his staff that he be ousted for undermining the public's confidence in the center's forecasts.

Director Bill Proenza will be replaced by Deputy Director Ed Rappaport, said center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

Proenza replaced veteran center head Max Mayfield in January. More than 20 of Proenza's nearly 50 employees had urged his dismissal, claiming he damaged public confidence in their forecasts by repeatedly and publicly criticizing the federal government for not providing enough funding, particularly to replace an aging weather satellite.

Staff members say Proenza misrepresented the problem with the satellite and they were worried the consequences would actually hurt their forecasting abilities.

Reached Monday, Rappaport said he would not comment on his appointment. A spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the center, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. ###

Published on July 9, 2007 in Sun Herald, Los Angeles Times, and Houston Chronicle.

See related blog entry: White House Muzzling Hurricane Center Director

National Hurricane Center Director Bill Proenza has been the loudest voice calling for a replacement of an aging satellite.

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