A two-star general has been administratively reprimanded after an investigation found he was condescending to a congressional staffer during an informational meeting.
Maj. Gen. Ryan Gonsalves also had his nomination to lieutenant general rescinded as a result of the investigation.
The Army declined to disclose the punishment handed down to Gonsalves, who most recently was the commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division.
“Following the completion of the Inspector General’s investigation of Major General Ryan Gonsalves, appropriate administrative action was taken,” Army spokeswoman April Cunningham told Army Times on Jan. 3.
“He is currently serving as the Special Assistant to the Commanding General, III Corps, at Fort Carson, Colorado.”
Gonsalves was first nominated for a third star in July, but the nomination was pulled in light of an IG investigation into his conduct with a congressional staffer, as first reported by Stars and Stripes.
“The matter is now closed,” Cunningham said.
In a copy of the investigation, provided to Stars and Stripes, the IG found that Gonsalves had violated Army Command Policy’s requirement to treat others with dignity and respect.
Sexist and inappropriate?
The incident happened during an October 2016 meeting at Fort Carson with staffers from the office of Rep. Jim Langevin, D-Rhode Island.
The report substantiated that Gonsalves had referred to a female staffer as “sweetheart.”
It also detailed allegations that he had made comments about her age and urged her to take detailed notes to bring back to her boss, “since she was a Democrat and did not believe in funding the military.”
Multiple members of Langevin’s staff described the general’s behavior as sexist and inappropriate, while others — whose names and positions were redacted, Stars and Stripes reported — defended him as professional.
At one point during the meeting, Stars and Stripes reported, the female staffer passed a note to a colleague that read: “Did this guy really just call me sweetheart?”
The female staffer, who told her boss about the meeting but declined to file a complaint at the time, took to her Facebook page to denounce the Army as making a “bad decision” when Stars and Stripes reported in July that Gonsalves was on the short list to command U.S. Army Europe.
An anonymous IG complaint came in soon after.
“Although MG Gonsalves testified that he did not refer to (the female staffer) as ‘sweetheart’ during the meeting, the evidence did not support his recollection,” according to the IG report.
Change of command
In the meantime, Gonsalves has been serving on the III Corps staff.
In December, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges relinquished command of U.S. Army Europe and is set to retire.
Hodges had led Army Europe since November 2014, including during a time when the Army boosted its presence there in an effort to reassure its NATO allies and deter Russian aggression.
Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, is on tap to take over at Army Europe, following approval of his nomination to three-star general in December.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.