My career spans 21 years in military intelligence, including two deployments and six overseas assignments. I served our country in Iraq, then in the Montana National Guard under John Walsh.
I recently shared part of my story in a television ad you may have seen. It wasn’t an easy decision to speak out, but I believe it was the right decision.
Since sharing what happened to me, I’ve been disappointed to see some dismissing or distorting my story for political purposes.
During my time in the Montana Guard, I served as an intelligence analyst at the GS-11 level and received three temporary promotions to the GS-12 Intelligence Operations Specialist (J2) position.
As the most qualified military intelligence specialist, I remained as the continuity for that J2 position, serving in a temporary role pending the assignment of permanent personnel into the position.
I continuously performed those GS-12 duties, due to vacancies or the inexperience of people that leadership command-directed- to serve in that position.
Despite positive reviews from my superiors and being qualified for the position, I was never given the opportunity to permanently fill the J2 role – even though I temporarily served in that role on numerous occasions.
Instead of allowing me to apply for the position, management – including John Walsh – continuously directed non-qualified males to fill the position instead.
It became obvious that I was being discriminated against on the basis of my gender and was being denied the opportunity to apply for the promotion. In April, I filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint with the Montana Guard.
I am proud of my service in the Montana Guard and of those with whom I served. It’s an organization filled with good people and selfless servants and my grievance is not with them.
My grievance is with the poor leadership John Walsh exhibited when he was responsible for managing the Department of Military Affairs.
While John Walsh was head of the Department of Military Affairs, he was reprimanded by the Army. The Army Inspector General determined he improperly used government resources for personal gain. Government auditors found serious problems within an agency he oversaw. Several former workers filed lawsuits claiming harassment and an employee survey conducted within one division of his agency found that employees feared retaliation and bullying by managers.
In my case specifically, Walsh allowed the discrimination I personally experienced.
Gender discrimination in the workplace is not something that should be taken lightly and no Montanan should feel that they are unable to speak up about injustice or wrongdoing.
It is insulting and offensive that rather than addressing what happened to me, John Walsh and his political allies are writing off how I was treated – and accusing me of lying.
We deserve better than a Senator who looks the other way when Montanans are mistreated.
Major Cindy Neely, Inactive Reserve
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