Is a GOMOR a career killer?
As in many questions of the law, it really does depend in order to try to mitigate an issuance of a GOMOR to be a career killer. We have to look at all the various steps that a service member has in addressing it.
The first one is certainly the most important, but not going to be the last. And that first step is certainly responding to the General Officer of Memorandum of Reprimand in what we call sometimes is rebuttal or response matters. And they really do matter. Often what we are trying to do is to have that reprimand ripped up. If it can’t be ripped up, then our next best outcome is to have it locally filed.
Now, even with a local file, there can be some lasting implications, some other videos, and some other content can address that. In terms of whether or not it will be an absolute career killer we always remind people that there are a number of additional steps. If that issuance of the GOMOR led to what we call an administrative separation board or a board of inquiry, then you get another bite at that apple. That board has another opportunity to re-look at the underlying conduct that you are alleged to have committed in that GOMOR. They can make a separate determination as to whether or not it legitimately is founded.
So please, please do not give up at the issues of the GOMOR and assume it’s going to kill everything. Oftentimes in our cases, we’re able to unsubstantiated that same underlying misconduct, that form the basis for the reprimand, if that is the case. And, if we’ve been able to unsubstantiated at the board level, there is another step, another process that’s available to you to try to remove that GOMOR from the official record, that is by making an application to the DASEB, that board consists of civilians. Many of whom have a service connection, and they review whether or not there was either an error or an injustice and further whether or not that GOMOR has served its intended consequences.
Recent changes to the protocols on a DASEB application have caused us to not have to wait a full year, like we used to. Formally the regulation stated that that GOMOR needed to stay in that person’s record for one year before that person could even apply to have it removed, thanks to some recent changes and some recent legislation that yearlong requirement has been removed. So we are filing those DASEB applications almost immediately after the findings of the board have concluded. There are some administrative steps after a board makes its findings where we have to wait for transcripts and wait for things to be compiled from the board, but no longer do we have that yearlong wait.
And so in response to the question: Is a GOMOR a career killer… It really does depend, but we hope and pray that each of you will see that there are many steps for us to try to get that gone from your record. So it doesn’t have to be for you.
Jocelyn Stewart is a UCMJ court-martial attorney who specializes in defense of allegations of sexual assault for all branches of the military worldwide. Contact the Law Office of Jocelyn C. Stewart at 1-888-252-0927
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