The ousted director of the National Hurricane Center has asked for his job back, saying his removal was improper.
Lawyers for Bill Proenza wrote in an 11-page letter that the manner and timing of his removal in July was “suspect” and an investigation preceding it shoddy, the Orlando Sentinel reported for Thursday’s editions.
The letter was reportedly sent Wednesday to Proenza’s boss, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Conrad Lautenbacher, in addition to a U.S. House committee investigating Proenza’s removal.
Proenza’s lawyer, Cathy Harris, told the paper that Proenza is a “victim of retaliation” and shielded by an act protecting whistleblowers. E-mails sent to Proenza, Harris and a NOAA spokesman were not returned early Thursday.
Proenza was put on leave July 7, days after almost half his staff signed a statement urging federal officials to dismiss him. They said he undermined the public’s confidence in them by exaggerating forecasting problems they would face if an aging weather satellite failed.
Prior to going on leave, Proenza had publicly criticized the government for failing to provide enough funding, particularly to replace the QuikScat satellite and increase research. He also said NOAA had spent money on an anniversary celebration while cutting research money.
Proenza assumed the job in January after a 40-year government weather service career. He took over from longtime Director Max Mayfield.
Information from: Orlando Sentinel,