Money Mismanagement Storm at the National Weather Service
Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:23 AM
Congress this week delved into a money mismanagement cyclone at the National Weather Service that could leave Americans more vulnerable to severe weather events.
Over the past several years, Congress has mostly exceeded the administration’s funding request for the NWS, but for the past several years the NWS has been reporting a budget shortfall.
Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), vice chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, noted at Wednesday’s hearing that the panel had been informed that no NWS employees gained financially through the funds mismanagement. Instead, money designated for critical projects like the advanced weather interactive processing system and weather radio improvement was shuffled toward newer expenses.
“Yes, I’m glad that no one stole money for personal gain, but make no mistake, Congress’s trust — my trust, has been violated,” Adams said.
The hearing painted a picture of a Weather Service with hazy transparency and lack of oversight, as well as an agency with “significant problems with budget and financial controls.”
Despite concerns over the money troubles, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn’t provide a requested witness — the former CFO — to help reconstruct the financial mess, Adams said.
“The committee was willing to work with NOAA, even going as far as allowing the agency to only submit one piece of written testimony, but NOAA still refused,” she said.
“It also makes it difficult for us to not ask, what are you hiding?” Adams added.
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