Capt. Lisa Raimondo was relieved of command due to "a loss of confidence in the commander's ability to command due to a significant lack of leadership and integrity that eroded good order and discipline in the command," according to a Navy spokesman. (Navy)
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The commanding officer and the command master chief of Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River, Md., have been fired after an inspector general's investigation and administrative reviews, continuing a crackdown on poor leadership in the medical community.
Rear. Adm. Alton Stocks, commander of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Md., and Navy Medicine National Capital Area on Friday relieved Capt. Lisa Raimondo of command of the clinic and Master Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/FMF) Merrilyn Crawford of her position as the clinic's senior enlisted sailor, said Capt. Cappy Surette, a Bureau of Medicine and Surgery spokesman.
When relieving Raimondo, Stocks cited "a loss of confidence in the commander's ability to command due to a significant lack of leadership and integrity that eroded good order and discipline in the command," Surette said. Crawford was relieved for a lack of accountable leadership that also hurt the command, Surette said.
Their performance did not hurt medical care in any way, he said.
"These actions are indications of the Navy surgeon general's recent statements to the Navy medical community that he expects his commanders to perform their duties to the highest standards of conduct and performance," he said.
Raimondo and Crawford were, respectively, the 12th CO and 11th senior enlisted leader relieved this year. The medical field typically doesn't see its people removed from top jobs — since 2010, 51 commanding officers have been fired, but none from BUMED until April, when the commander of Navy Health Clinic New England http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/04/navy-heath-clinic-new-england-co-cmc-fired-04112012w/">was relieved.
Additionally, since 2011, six executive officers and 17 senior enlisted leaders were fired, but only one XO and two command master chiefs came from the medical community.
The most recent firings raise the total of BUMED firings in 2012 to three COs, one XO and two CMCs.
"Command in the Navy is the pinnacle of confidence in leadership and I celebrate our commanding officers as incredibly talented and hard-working role models. As such, I also recognize that they must lead by example. The confidence they create above and below them must be without question," Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan said.
Another BUMED spokesman said in a May interview that intrusive leadership means that leaders are supposed to be constantly engaged with the people under them and that they should be familiar not only with their work but their personal lives as well. The goal is to create an environment where people come to work and can do their best.
3 months, 3 BUMED firings
The BUMED firings began when Rear. Adm. Elaine Wagner, commander of Navy Medicine East, relieved Capt. Kim Lyons at Navy Health Clinic New England, based in Newport, R.I. Master Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/AW/FMF) Robert Whitten was also removed from his position as the top enlisted sailor at the clinic. Wagner cited a "loss of confidence due to a poor command climate," as cause for the firings, Surette said.
A source familiar with the issue said that there was a critical command climate survey and that there was at least one Inspector General complaint was filed.
In May the commanding and executive officers at the Navy's drug screening lab in San Diego were fired for a poor command climate as well. Capt. Michael Macinski relived Cmdr. Lee Hoey, the CO, and Cmdr. Shelly Hakspiel, the XO.
Their leadership did not impact the accuracy of the service's drug screening program, but were rather due to unfavorable report from command climate surveys, some of which were initiated by complaints to the navy's inspector general hotline, officials said.