Storm prediction agency scraps furlough plans
June 1st, 2013
05:54 PM ET
9 years ago

Storm prediction agency scraps furlough plans

Washington (CNN) - The federal agency which issued tornado warnings this week has suspended plans for across-the-board employee furloughs that would kick as the summer hurricane season kicks in.

Ciaran Clayton, communications director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the agency is canceling plans to furlough its 12,000 employees for as many as 20 days between July and September, when the federal fiscal year ends.

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The cuts would hit the agency amid what their own forecasters announced a week ago is expected to be an above-normal hurricane season.

NOAA announced the cuts earlier this year as a cost-saving measure necessitated by the forced federal spending cuts known in Washington as sequestration.

An internal memo sent to NOAA employees late Friday from agency head Kathryn Sullivan cited recent deadly tornadoes around the Midwest. The memo was published by The Washington Post.

"The events over the past week, including more devastating tornadoes tonight in Oklahoma and Missouri, remind us how important every single employee within NOAA is to the health, safety, and well-being of this nation," she wrote. "I want to thank you all for continued commitment and dedication even in times of danger to your lives, families, and property. The work you do truly is important to each and every American from coast to coast."

The memo said a "new sequestration plan" had been developed and "we are cancelling our intent to furlough all 12,000 of our employees."

In May, NOAA forecasters predicted between 13 and 20 named storms in the Atlantic this hurricane season, which began on Saturday and runs through October.

Filed under: Budget
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. deneete

    This is from the NOAA's website..I want to know who their STAKEHOLDERS are???I really think there is so much waste in all government programs. "While we still face significant challenges and an uncertain budget environment, the fiscal year 2014 budget request shows that we have listened to our stakeholders, exercised the necessary strong fiscal discipline and worked hard to make the right investments for the whole of NOAA. This year’s budget request of approximately $5.4 billion aims to: 1) ensure the readiness, responsiveness, and resiliency of communities from coast to coast; 2) help protect lives and property; and, 3) support vibrant coastal communities and economies." Who are the STAKEHOLDERS??? I have a problem with us paying their salaries and them having stakeholders we don't know about...and 5.4 BILLIONS DOLLARS REALLY!!!

    June 1, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  2. Thomas A. Hawk

    I agree that the forecasters are important. This year many appear to be critically important.

    However, this has to be paid for, somehow. The existing law doesn't solve the problem. The only way to solve the problem of funding is for Congress to pass a bill that solves this problem followed by the President signing the bill (or having Congress override a veto).

    It is time for Congress to get around to doing their jobs.

    June 1, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  3. CaliforniaAC

    Budget deficit is coming down fastest in 50 years, but Congress is still insisting on cutbacks rather than raise taxes on the 1%. We need a new congress in 2014 with political affiliation be damned as long as the people's business are addressed.

    June 1, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  4. bo

    glad military hospitals still plan to furlough

    June 1, 2013 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  5. CaliforniaAc

    Congress should put aside politics and not waste time with witch hunts to do the people's business or we should vote them out of office: Political parties be damned.

    June 1, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  6. Rebekah J.

    Wait.. Congress was going to tank our storm watchers while they give themselves a raise, give tax breaks to the rich and give subsidies to oil companies? Our country is so messed up.

    June 1, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  7. Scott

    A better sequestration plan would be to furlough (permanently) all of the red state senators and congresspersons who place loyalty to the tea party above support for government functions that protect citizens from harm.

    June 1, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  8. Fuzzy Thinker

    The Civil Servant Managers were going to get revenge by cutting service that the public would notice. Now they are going to trim fat instead.

    June 1, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  9. OMG2

    What? who is paying for this! We need to furlough American citizens so that we can provide for Israeli and Eygptian needs. Maybe even Syria next. Anything that can avoid helping actual tax paying American citizens. (unless you are rich)

    June 1, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  10. Granny

    Why don't they furlough 12,000 IRS employees, no one would miss them.....

    June 1, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  11. KBNJ

    Well, golly gee, I guess the Govt. CAN operate on a little less money. Errrr...make that a little MORE money than last year – you know, decrease in the rate of increase – wouldn't it be nice if WE could tell our bosses that if we only get a SMALL raise, we're not going to work as much?

    June 1, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  12. William T. Parker

    Decades of effort to streamline operations, better understand the science, the implementation of Doppler Radars geostationary satellites, better mesoscale models, the intense training of forecasters have paid off for the nation as graphically demonstrated these past weeks. It is no wonder the quality of the forecasts and warnings have seen significant improvement resulting in better information to the general public and a better understanding of how to act during critical weather events. This is one prime example of the Federal government working correctly for the benefit of the common good. America has the best weather services in the world and we should be proud of the results.

    June 2, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  13. Nita

    Why stop the furloughs? Let the people see the value of the federal staff. We say in war that war cost lives...isn't it the same thing with the federal staff,,all areas? If we don't have the staff and the budget, it costs NOAA or CDC or food and drug..all of it is necessary. It is time to let the world see the necessity of the federal staff

    June 2, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  14. Quin Thor

    What a joke, just cancel all furloughs.
    Don't we have enough TV stations for coverage?

    Next comes an environmental disaster and EPA furloughs are cancelled.

    June 2, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  15. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Well, DUH! It's about time they came to their senses.

    June 2, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  16. Original Phantom

    ".... expected to be an above-normal hurricane season. "

    They don't have a clue as to what the hurricane season will bring. Just look at their record over the decades.

    June 2, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  17. GeeOhPee

    thanks, obama!

    June 2, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  18. GeeOhPee

    it's because of obama people in the midwest are being hit almost daily with tornados ;(

    June 2, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  19. Qodex

    Will keeping all these "forecasters" on the payroll somehow lessen the frequency, severity, or damage that these storms do? Do they provide more timely or more accurate information than the commercial weather services? Does it really take 12,000 of them to do it? Do they provide some essential service after the storms hit? What's the downside to shuttering this bloated federal bureaucracy?

    June 2, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Government furloughs are a theater anyway. In the end, no city, state, or federal agency has ever saved a dime on the bottom line with furloughs

    June 2, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  21. Anonymous

    So what was the point of the sequester again?

    June 2, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  22. voice of reason

    Ya know...we could save a ton of money if we furloughed all the GOP politicians & put their paycheck toward the fed debt. the bonus is that no thinking person will miss them.

    June 2, 2013 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  23. brown


    Suffer the consequences of being an uninformed American electorate!

    Go back to watching your sitcoms and let your Congress continue to destroy your country!

    June 2, 2013 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  24. Andrew

    LOL @ Republicans, again.

    June 2, 2013 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  25. bick

    12,000 employees? My goodness. Why does NOAA need that kind of manpower? Rather than furloughs, how about layoffs?

    June 2, 2013 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
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