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Weather Service Workers Await Word on Relocation

May 20, 1993|LEO SMITH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Employees at the National Weather Service office in downtown Los Angeles have had a tough time maintaining a sunny disposition lately.

In fact, they are so upset about a proposed move to Oxnard that they went to court seeking to block the relocation, which is planned for October.

Attorneys for the National Weather Service Employees Organization filed suit in federal court in New York last week, seeking to stop the transfer of offices from Los Angeles, New York City and Boston to smaller outlying areas. A decision is expected by early next week.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, which operates the Weather Service, wants to relocate the offices as part of a $4-billion plan to streamline and update the agency.

The union, which represents meteorologists and technicians, contends that the transfers would violate a congressional act that requires the agency to certify that a change of location will not hurt services.

The office, located in the Federal Building in Westwood, serves Ventura, Los Angeles, Inyo, San Diego, Riverside, Imperial and San Bernardino counties and part of Santa Barbara County.

The 5,500-square-foot Oxnard office is being built at an estimated cost of $1.5 million. Ground was broken in September. The office would have a staff of about 30.

A move to Oxnard would bring forecasters closer to a state-of-the-art, $2.5-million Doppler radar system, scheduled to be installed atop Sulphur Mountain in Ojai in early 1994, officials said.

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