Nine months after he talked with a reporter to expose wasteful spending and mismanagement in the California National Guard, Maj. Joseph Lovelace abruptly received three unexpected performance reviews filled with what he viewed as false praise.
“With strong mentorship” and “supervision,” he was capable of making good decisions, one review read. He could succeed at a higher rank, it said, “with continued mentorship.”
The polite phrases carried an underlying message that senior Army officers recognize as career-killing language: Lovelace’s command did not want him to move to a higher rank, and without a promotion, the Iraq veteran would be compelled to retire.
Now out of the Army, Lovelace is still fighting to overturn the three performance reviews he received in a three-week cluster five years ago. By holding back his career by impeding his promotion to lieutenant colonel, he argues, the reviews effectively trimmed his lifetime earnings because he would have earned more money in retirement at the higher rank.
An Army investigation concluded in 2014 that the reviews were handled inappropriately, and two of his former supervisors have reported that Lovelace suffered retaliation after he identified himself as a source for Sacramento Bee stories in 2011.
But the reviews stand, and Lovelace is contesting them through a Pentagon agency, saying he was driven out of the National Guard for drawing attention to neglected problems.
Read the whole story in the The Sacramento Bee