ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis lawmaker has urged Gov.-election Jay Nixon to consider replacing the adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard after accusations that the commander has discriminated against women and blacks.
Two federal complaints have been filed that accuse Maj. Gen. King Sidwell and his chief of staff, Col. Glenn Hagler, of discrimination. Also, 13 black Guard members have complained in a letter to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that Sidwell has "fostered a climate of institutional discrimination."
State Rep. Jamilah Nasheed told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she wants Nixon to consider replacing Sidwell, who has reapplied for his job and cited the support of numerous Democrats, such as U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, of Lexington.
"The allegations of systematic racial and gender discrimination by Missouri National Guard Adjutant General King Sidwell merit a swift but thorough investigation by the Department of Defense," said Nasheed, a Democrat. She urged Nixon to hold off on keeping Sidwell with the National Guard until an investigation can be completed.
Nixon, a Democrat, was noncommittal about the controversy but said he expects the National Guard is "one area we would make some changes."
Sidwell and Nixon met last week in Jefferson City.
A spokesman for Nixon's transition office told the Post-Dispatch that the incoming governor has examined several candidates to lead the National Guard. But the spokesman declined to comment about specific candidates or reveal the timeline for selecting the next adjutant general.
Sidwell has denied discriminating against anyone. He said the two federal complaints concern promotion decisions that were made based on "management needs" and had nothing to do with race or gender.
Sidwell and Hagler acknowledged that some of the issues raised in the NAACP letter involve situations that were "handled poorly" by management.