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Published: Monday, 7/9/2007

Hurricane center chief reassigned amid criticism from staff


MIAMI The director of the National Hurricane Center was temporarily reassigned today, four days after many of the center s employees called for his removal.

More than 20 of Bill Proenza s nearly 50 employees signed a letter Thursday urging federal officials to dismiss him. They claimed he had damaged the public s confidence in their forecasts by repeatedly and publicly criticizing the federal government for not providing enough money, particularly to replace an aging weather satellite.

The staff members said Proenza misrepresented the problem with the satellite, and they were worried the consequences would hurt their forecasting abilities.

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

Rappaport declined to 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.

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

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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