Hurricane Chief Leaves Eye of the Storm

Center director ousted only 6 months into controversial stint
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2007 8:10 PM CDT
Hurricane Chief Leaves Eye of the Storm
National Hurricane Center spokesman Ed Rappaport studies charts and maps at Hurricane Ivan approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast, in this Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2004, file photo, in Miami. Director Bill Proenza will be replaced for now by Deputy Director Ed Rappaport, center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said, Monday,...   (Associated Press)

National Hurricane Center director Bill Proenza is out as of today, the Miami Herald reports, less than a week after half his staff demanded his resignation. The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the "disruption" caused by the controversial leader "threatens the center's ability to protect the American people."

Proenza had taken flak in recent months after questioning whether the center could maintain forecast accuracy should one of its major satellites fail. That sparked ire among colleagues, who said the comments needlessly undermined confidence in their forecasts. But Proenza's real downfall may have been his lack of political acumen: He was well known for his outspoken—and poorly received—critiques of higher-ups. (More National Hurricane Center stories.)

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