Hurricane Center Chief Reassigned After Staff Called for His Removal

July 10, 2007

The director of the National Hurricane Center was temporarily reassigned Monday, four days after many of the center’s employees called for his removal because of his comments about an aging weather satellite.

More than 20 of Bill Proenza’s nearly 50 staff members signed a statement last week urging federal officials to dismiss him. They said Proenza undermined the public’s confidence in the center by exaggerating the forecasting problems scientists would face if the satellite failed.

Proenza insisted he was only trying to ensure that his forecasters had the best tools and adequate support.

He was to be replaced by Deputy Director Ed Rappaport, center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.

Rappaport declined to comment on his appointment.

Anson Franklin, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the center, said Proenza is still a NOAA employee, but he would not provide details about his status, citing privacy laws.

Proenza assumed the job in January, replacing longtime director Max Mayfield.

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