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$43.8 Million in Bad Contracts at the Weather Service

Written by Gary North on May 30, 2012

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.

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10 thoughts on “$43.8 Million in Bad Contracts at the Weather Service

  1. I would suggest that we do away with the National Weather Service, but …. I am pretty sure that they are the agency that tells us when we have experienced a tornado !!! Have you ever noticed that on a TV weathercast, when showing the destruction of an obvious tornado, they always say that it is a 'suspected' tornado and they are awaiting confirmation from the NWS?

    I mean, if we don't have them, all we will have is a bunch of 'suspected' weather events all over the country – now we can't have that, can we?

  2. Handed in his resignation? Handed in his resignation?

    He should have handed in his personal check for 43.8 million dollars plus interest. It's time that officials take personal responsibility for what they do. Obama owes us 5 trillion dollars, 3 of which he spent in the first business quarter that he was in office.

  3. But he retained his pension. The government is so forgiving. The guy at the GSA who resigned after sponsoring the $850,000 party in Vegas just got his job back. The government is so gracious it makes me up-chuck.

  4. yupikesk1 says:

    Getting paid to dumb us down. 99% of the time in 99% of the world and you want a weather forecast . . . look out the window or through your hut opening. Presto, you have weather with a forecast. Weather and traffic? Toooo many $$$$$$$

  5. Taquoshi says:

    Uh, the NWS also supplies information to airports and various other organizations that are weather dependent, so you might want to reconsider your idea. I know when we've had major snowstorms on the way, the school district, the police and the fire fighters in our town are tied into the weather alert system.

    I suspect that the real problem was sloppy accounting and people being careless with Federal funding. The Feds are very strict with the use of grant funding and the accountability factor.

  6. TRUTHTELLER says:

    Yup, you can practically look out your door and tell the weather as well as the NWS. For long term forcasts, (A week or more) we have Doppler radar satelltes, to give us a bird's eye view of any reigon.

    Pay NASA or JPL to manage and recieve transmissions from those satellites and retransmit them to the TV , and radio networks, and the internet. You will have a nation wide early warning system at a minimal cost.

    The nightly news weather reports all show the Doppler read outs, so why do we need a billion dollar NWS bureaucracy to tell us what we can get for free on TV?

    Another case of government gone wild.

    P S I own a high quality weather station which gives me weather readouts 24-7, including wind speed, barometric pressure, relative humidity, dew point, rain amounts, inside and outside tempratures and UV radiation rates. All for a cost of under a thousand dollars. If I can do it, so can the NWS.

  7. I wish they would have spent some of that money on my local radar. When it is sunny outside, it works fine. The first time a storm or even a hard rain pops up, it's out for days. It's raining a bit right now, the radar went out a few hours ago. Even if there was a tornado coming, they wouldn't be able to see it. Oh, repairs expected Friday, maybe Monday. Guess what, it will be sunny again and we won't need it.

    < sighs >

  8. sean murry says:

    Another waste of tax payer money.

  9. Cliffystones says:

    Am I the only one who noticed just how poorly this article is written?

    First of all, what does it mean to "reprogram funds"? You reprogram a computer. With "funds" AKA "money" you steal it from where it was supposed to be spent and grease the palms of your cronies.

    Then consider these gems of grammatical incorrectness…….

    "The heat of the NWS has resigned." Who? Nikki Heat?

    "The NWS has a program for forecasting rivers and floods." How does anyone but God "forecast a river"?

    "The one-year extensions were made annually." Really? Not monthly?

    "Even so, auditors found that all five of the one-year extensions, totaling $40 million." You call this a sentence? Written by Beavis I suppose, and proofread by Butthead?

  10. tionico says:

    so, what's more important? The SUBSTANCE of the article, or the grammar and spelling? Come ON, Cliff…. this is an article about government corruption, not perfect grammar.