The head honcho of the National Weather Service handed in his resignation when a report was issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which concluded that the NWS had misappropriated $43.8 million by giving bonuses to contractors. An NOAA administrator discovered the following:
The Investigative Team found that NWS employees engaged in the reprogramming of NWS funds without Congressional notification during the years in question. These actions may be a violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act. The Team also found failure of management and oversight by NWS leadership. In addition, the Team found significant problems with budget and financial controls at the National Weather Service and that Departmental financial and management controls were ineffective at detecting or preventing this inappropriate reprogramming.
Importantly, the Team did not find any evidence that any NWS employee committed fraud or received personal financial gain through their actions. This fact does not excuse, or reduce the seriousness of the employees’ actions.
So, we are told that repeated violations of the Congressional Anti-Dificiency Act was not fraudulent. It was just one of those things, just one of those crazy things.
The heat of the NWS has resigned. He will get his pension.
Contractors will not pay back bonuses.
And a good time was had by all!
NOAA spokesman Scott Smullen said in a statement:
NOAA and department leadership will continue to work with the Inspector General’s office and members of Congress to ensure that processes are put in place to restore proper oversight, that funds are properly reprogrammed, and that all individuals responsible for these unauthorized transactions are held accountable.
In addition, Commerce leadership is initiating department-wide actions to bring more rigor and transparency to the budget formulation and execution process at the sub-bureau level, as well as provide more training to managers on how to address complaints in a timely and appropriate manner.
File this under “Locking the Barn Door After the Horses Have Escaped.”
Then there was this problem. The NWS has a program for forecasting rivers and floods. This cost $80 million for five years. There had to be annual evaluations. There was a board assigned to do this. It never met. There was no chairman.
The one-year extensions were made annually. Even so, auditors found that all five of the one-year extensions, totaling $40 million.
No NWS budget cutbacks are expected.
It is business as usual in Washington.