Storm of Controversy at the National Hurricane Center

Bill Proenza never sugar coated the issues. He spoke his mind. The candor has, at least in part, cost him his job.

He says, "They wanted me to be quiet about it."

The director of the National Hurricane Center, Proenza was talking about a satellite he felt was critical to forecasting, but was on its last legs with no replacement in the works.

Proenza went public with his concern, but many of his own senior forecasters didn't share his opinion.

Last week, half the center staff signed a petition asking for Proenza to be removed, saying he didn't listen to them, he didn't seek their opinions.

Lixion Avila, a Sr. Hurricane specialist says, "We're gonna make a very good damn forecast this year with Bill or without Bill. I've been very emotional on this because I was his strongest supporter and I feel betrayed."

Proenza also publicly criticized his bosses in Washington for spending money on 200th anniversary celebrations for NOAA, the parent agency, while taking money away from hurricane research.

The director had lost support at NOAA and in his own building.

In an interview last friday Proenza said he wasn't resigning immediately, but was leaving the door open.

He also said there were no regrets in the way he handled things, "When I'm asked I've got to answer honestly and sincerely and I feel it is part of my responsibility. I work for the American people."

NOAA officials say Proenza remains on the payroll, but he no longer works for the American people as director of the hurricane center.

Long time deputy director Ed Rappaport has taken over as acting director.

Video Extra:

Check out the video for Rob Hatchell's take on the entire situation and what Bill Proenza's removal means for you.