National Weather Bureau Chief Resigns…Under a Cloud
Thursday, May 31, 2012
The head of the National Weather Service (NWS) has stepped down following revelations that his agency spent years redirecting funds without approval from Congress.
Jack Hayes ran the NWS for six years before his abrupt retirement last week. His decision came after an internal investigation—not performed by an inspector general— revealed agency staff repeatedly took monies meant for authorized programs and used them for other efforts at the NWS, allegedly partially to avoid furloughs and layoffs.
A spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the NWS, announced in a prepared statement that none of the redirected funds were embezzled.
“No funds were used on inappropriate items, they were simply used in different categories than originally budgeted. The investigation found no evidence of corruption or personal financial gain in these actions. We do not believe any money was moved out of the National Weather Service,” the statement said.
Lawmakers in charge of congressional oversight of the NWS were upset to learn of the misdirected monies. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) refused for the time being to give the agency permission to repurpose $35.5 million for this year.
NWS leaders claim that without the authorization layoffs may have to be issued to some staff members. The investigative report has not yet been made public.
To Learn More:
NOAA Takes Remedial Steps After National Weather Service Chief’s Departure (by Charles Clark, Government Executive)
Senators Tell Weather Service Congress Won’t Authorize Plan To Shift Money (by Lisa Rein and Jason Samenow, Washington Post)
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