An Army colonel fired from her job in April tried to intimidate subordinates to bend the rules after a tape test found her to be overweight, according to an Army investigation.
Though Lock did have some supporters, many of the dozens of witnesses in the report portrayed Lock as an authoritarian leader and sometimes-abusive "bully" who decimated morale, citing several specific examples including belittling of subordinates and retaliatory reassignments.
Army Times reached Lock by email, but she declined comment.
"I will again hold my comments for now. Thank you for the opportunity to provide my perspective on this action," Lock's email said.
"I am not a toxic leader. I have never been a toxic leader, and I will not become a toxic leader because I am not a toxic person," she said, according to the investigation.
'I cannot be in non-compliance'
While many of the complaints against Lock revolved around alleged abrasiveness, much of the investigation centered on her alleged attempts to influence her body composition measurements.
Three people were in the room with Lock when she was measured: two tapers — a civilian and a soldier — and the first sergeant, whose office was used and who recorded results.
Col. Glenda J. Lock
Photo Credit: DoD
Lock was measured twice and both times found to be out of regs. Then Lock told the the first sergeant "she would re-do the weigh-in later on that week."
The first sergeant told Lock she'd let her know, and said, "it is not my decision to do that or not." The first sergeant later contacted an officer up the chain of command for instruction, and was told to give Lock a "flag," or Suspension of Favorable Personnel Actions. A flag renders Lock ineligible for promotion, assumption of a command, bonuses, and advance or excess leave, among other actions.
She was also to be enrolled in the Army Body Composition Program, as required upon not meeting body fat percentage requirements. Soldiers in the ABCP are provided exercise guidance by a unit fitness trainer, nutrition counseling by a registered dietitian, and "assistance in behavioral modification, as appropriate," according to Army Regulation 600-9.
Lock tried a workaround to avoid getting in trouble, the investigation found. The medical center's chief of HR said in a sworn statement that Lock gave her a call later that day.
"She asked me if I could remove the flag or somehow fix it because it could not go forward," the HR chief's statement said.
Later, the HR chief called Lock back to confirm that the flag could not be removed unless it was erroneous, and said Lock told her, "I wasn't asking you that; I was only trying to find out the procedures."
The HR chief said in the clarifying statement that Lock did not explicitly order the flag's removal, "but her intent was that the flag be removed….I perfectly understood what she was saying." The HR chief added: "An O6 in my rating chain was asking me to do something unethical and I don't think I should be put in that position."
Lock denied wrongdoing related to her body measurements, but investigators deemed her accusers' stories as more credible.
Lock would be re-taped after the initial investigation, and problems again occurred. She had been was requested to be measured Dec. 8 but did not show up. She was eventually taped again on Dec. 22, according to the first sergeant's follow-up interview on Jan. 5.
Lock had passed her Army Physical Fitness Test in the fall, though she did so at a time of her choosing and away from most other soldiers. Investigators concluded Lock had "demonstrated a pattern of secrecy regarding her APFT," and never participated in APFT or measurements with her soldiers at any time during her command.
'Intimidating' and 'aggressive'
When the Army announced Lock's relief in April, "poor command climate," was provided as a reason. The investigative reports shed light on that accusation.
The CSM cited in the report called her a "borderline toxic leader" who "treats everybody the same; with an iron fist."
Adams gave an example of a town hall meeting where Lock embarrassed a subordinate and a commander.
During the town hall, someone asked a question pertaining to the WTU. First, Lock criticized the question, stating the matter should have been discussed in the weekly meeting with her WTU commander. When the WTU commander stood to say something, Lock allegedly snapped.
"The commander is going to sit down right now. Sometimes she thinks that she is the boss but I am the boss," Lock said, according to Adams, who reportedly felt embarrassed for the company commander.
Col. Glenda J. Lock, then commander of McDonald Army Health Center, joins her staff in honoring the U.S. Army Medical Department Civilian Corps in March 2014 at Fort Eustis, Va.
Photo Credit: Andrew Brown/DoD
Adams, who said a poor command climate pre-dated Lock, added that the colonel sometimes interrupted people in meetings and told them "I'm talking now."
Adams said "this job has made me decide that I want to retire" and that Lock lacked confidence in him/her and other employees.
"People are afraid of her," she said. "A lot of people feel like the command group is fake. I do not think that COL Lock provides clear guidance to the staff members and as a result she does not get the outcomes she wants."
Adams acknowledged in her statement that Lock had referred to the CSM as a toxic leader in a counseling report.
Some interviewed did speak well of Lock, characterizing her as a strong leader who was strict and direct. A deputy commander of clinical services called her "better than most I worked with in the Army" and "a professional soldier and a good commander."
But a larger number disagreed.
"There are a lot of people saying that we are riding out the storm and counting the months until she is gone," said one medical center employee.
The medical-surgical nurse (MOS 66) has worked at more than a dozen different locations in her 26-year career. Overseas assignments have included South Korea, Germany, Honduras and Afghanistan. Her decorations include a Legion of Merit Medal, Bronze Star, seven Meritorious Service Medals and two Army Commendation Medals.