Tip of the iceberg: The head of the National Weather Service stepped down on Friday in response to an inspector general’s report that accused the agency of giving $43 million in unjustified bonuses and contract extensions.
NOAA officials could not, for example, provide written explanation for why they paid $303,000 in awards on a $10 million contract to upgrade personnel and equipment for a satellite operations control center, the report says. An $80 million contract for the National Weather Service’s river, flood and drought forecasting specified that the contract had to be evaluated annually. But the board assigned to evaluate the contract never met, the report says, nor had a chairperson been assigned. Even so, auditors found that the contract was renewed five times to the tune of $40 million.
Of the nine contractors, NOAA gave eight high ratings, which allowed contractors to reap the “substantial award fees,” the report says. As a result, auditors concluded that NOAA’s pay system “provided little incentive for contractors to excel in executing their contracts.”
As I said earlier this week, this kind of story isn’t the exception but the rule. For years now our culture has condemned anyone who dared raise questions about any of the funding for science, to the point where the funding of science could no longer be questioned at all.
The result: vast sums of money have either been wasted or handed out as payoffs.
It is time we question everything, to the penny. The federal government can no longer afford to spend its money so sloppily, and the world of science community will be better off anyway if they are forced to justify their projects more rigorously.