MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The National Weather Service is causing a huge stir in the weather community. The organization announced Friday that it is seeking a person to fill the vacant position for Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The job description for the CFO position has employees and the National Weather Service Employees Organization outraged.
“[The incumbent assumes] management /oversight responsibilities for the following programs: ... NWS efforts to achieve modernization and streamlining goals including employee reductions,” the job posting says.
The NWS labor union says they can’t catch a break. They dodged furloughs and budget cuts over the summer. This announcement came as a total shock. The person who fills this position would seemingly be responsible for helping the organization make employee reductions at forecast offices around the country.
Bill Hopkins, Vice President of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, says, “We've never heard of such a thing being advertised in any job announcement for the National Weather Service.”
The National Weather Service claims the wording in the job description is the same as it has always been. The NWS labor union says that is not true. Weather forecast offices are already short-staffed around the country and some vacancies have been open for more than two years. The Mid-South has also felt the strain with the Memphis forecast office at least one forecaster down.
“If they go forward with eliminating positions, we are looking at having to close offices down the road,” says Hopkins.
This would force surrounding offices to take over the work-load for an office nearby that has closed. Hopkins says this will directly impact the safety of life. Fewer forecasters will lead to less accurate forecasting and coverage during inclement weather.
The National Weather Service issued this statement Saturday morning:
Bill Hopkins, Vice President of NWSEO, says, “We are very discouraged with their response...They are being very disingenuous not only the employees but when they have testified before Congress. Our mission is for the protection of life and property and when we are short staffed, that could jeopardize life and property.”