Funding needed to avoid NWS furloughs

The National Weather Service said it may need to furlough all of its workers for more than two work weeks if it cannot find funds to offset a budget shortfall.

The National Weather Service recently announced that it will seek reprogrammed funding to avoid using furloughs to offset a budget shortfall, according to a National Weather Service Employees Organization news release.

According to a reprogramming fact sheet NWS provided to the employee group, NWS's current spending plan includes a need to save $26 million by requiring all employees to be furloughed for 13 workdays by Sept. 30 — the equivalent of one full pay period. However, the furloughs could be avoided if Congress and the Commerce Department settle on funds that can be reallocated from other areas of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NWS said the administration is planning to work with Congress to implement the reprogramming effort before July 1.

According to NWSEO, NOAA, the Commerce Department and the Office of Management and Budget have failed for years to properly fund NWS field operations. NWSEO said that a recent NOAA investigation into the NWS budgetary process found that NWS personnel, none of whom had been trained to reprogram funds, may have been misallocating funds to pay for field operations.

“National Weather Service employees are paying for the mistakes of the agency’s leadership,” NWSEO President Dan Sobien, said. “Their misguided plan to furlough all agency employees is another example of the short-sighted thinking that has put them in such dire straits.”




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