BahaHurican's WunderBlog of 2015 Storms that Impact the Bahamas

My Take on the Bill Proenza and the NHC Conflict

By: BahaHurican, 3:34 AM GMT on July 07, 2007

I'm sitting on the fence with this Proenza thing now. What struck me the most about the staff comments as seen on Dr. Jeff Master's blog earlier today (particularly Franklin's) is that the staff seems to view Proenza as a liar (that's the REAL meaning of misrepresentation in the political context, folks). Basically people are saying "Bill lies to other people about what we say to him", and that is a really strong comment to make about your boss. Obviously there are some strong feelings about the situation, probably based on events that we don't have a clue about.

On the other hand, I firmly believe that forecasters who seemed to have the potential to handle the post were offered the opportunity to apply and interview for it. I seem to recall us mooting some names about and later seeing that these persons had declined the post. In fact, I'm pretty certain this was one key reason why Proenza was brought in the first place. So when it is time to find someone to replace Proenza, we immediately run into some difficulties.

I'm also really interested in whether any of the senior forecasters who spoke today are capable of handling the director's post, or if they even have a replacement in mind. Maybe they figure they are such a "family" that they don't need someone over them to make decisions and be a public spokesperson. Someone today mentioned that the potential for hidden agendas being pushed in this whole brouhaha is very high, and I agree with this. To me, something stinks about the way these events are falling out.

I also disagree with those who say Proenza should step down voluntarily simply because his staff members called for it. First of all, only 1/2 of the staff has called for it - less than half, if I remember correctly - and as he said, the staff members did not hire him. Since the NOAA has precipitated this situation by sending in the team, let the team do its work (such as it is) and present their findings. Then, and only then, should Proenza consider stepping down. A resignation at this point would be a hasty decision, and frankly would leave the NHC in even a worse state than it is in right now. A big part of the problem here is that people have not been following procedures, and for complete closure I thing protocol should be followed.

I also have a lot of respect for Dr. Master's opinions, even if I don't always agree with what he has to say. I find his open opposition to Proeza's directorship a lot more disturbing than the comments of the NHC employees, at least partially because he is taking a more scientific approach and also because he is less directly involved in the situation. This makes me believe that especially long-term Proenza may not be the man for the job.

In the final analysis, I think I agree with others who say that Proenza should be allowed to finish out the year. This is mainly because I feel NOAA needs to take more time to carefully vet and select a replacement. A knee-jerk response at this moment may actually create an even more unfavourable situation in the long-term than the one forecasters are in now. And obviously they are continuing to do their jobs despite the allegedly "poisonous" atmosphere. They are pretty tough. They should be able to stick it out another six months.


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

BahaHurican's WunderBlog of 2015 Storms that Impact the Bahamas

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During the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, this blog will focus on tropical systems that impact The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands.

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