By: Mark Johnson for VTDigger, Feb. 6, 2019
Four candidates seeking to be the next leader of the Vermont National Guard touted their credentials before a group of lawmakers on Tuesday, with all promising reforms that would help women gain more leadership roles and face fewer cases of sexual harassment or assault.
Retired Col. Rosanne Greco, who entered the race for Vermont adjutant general only hours earlier, took the strongest stand. She told lawmakers they should call for an outside independent investigation of alleged sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse by Guard leadership and allegations of a whisteblower who was retaliated against.
Two other candidates, Col. Greg Knight and retired Brig. Gen. David Baczewski, acknowledged mistreatment of women in the Guard and promised reforms. Knight focused on the ripple effect that the maltreatment women has had on recruitment and retention. The fourth candidate, Lt. Col. David Graham, largely spent his allotted half hour listing his credentials.
The four candidates appeared before a joint meeting of the House and Senate committees that oversee military affairs. On Feb. 21, all 180 lawmakers are scheduled to vote on a replacement for the current adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, who announced his retirement after VTDigger reported on the allegations of misconduct. Cray, who was in the post for six years, says his retirement was planned months before. Approximately 50 people attended the afternoon hearing, about half of them lawmakers.
The candidates addressed many of the issues raised in a seven-part VTDigger series, “The Flying Fraternity,” which detailed cases of abuse and harassment of women in the Guard, as well as problems with recruitment and retention. None of the candidates disputed the findings.