Obama's Reorganization Plan Draws Fire From Weather Service Union

Tuesday, 17 Jan 2012 11:42 AM

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President Barack Obama’s plan to shrink government by reorganizing and combining agencies is drawing fire from one of his earliest supporters. The National Weather Service Employees Organization, which represents 4,000 workers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has come out against the plan, The Washington Post’s blog the Federal Eye reported.

The plan, unveiled Friday, would move NOAA from the Commerce Department to the Interior Department.

“Whomever is advising the president on this issue is ignorant of the mission and history of the National Weather Service,” Richard Hirn, general counsel and legislative director of the union, told the Post.

Hirn said NOAA was moved from the Agriculture Department to Commerce by President Franklin D. Roosevelt because of the rapidly growing aviation industry and the need to provide accurate, timely weather forecasts. Him also told the Post that reorganizing NOAA might jeopardize several pilot programs geared toward improving weather forecasting.

The union was the first federal workers union to endorse Obama’s 2008 presidential bid. Hirn said that the union was not consulted about the reorganization. “They ignored us,” Hirn told the Post.

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