Damning by faint praise
You know those joke recommendation letters where the employer has nothing good to say about the employee and when pressed for praise says things like "His handwriting is excellent," "He is always punctual" or "His wife is very charming"? Here's one previous employer's take on Michael Brown:
"Yes. Mike Brown worked for me. He was my administrative assistant. He was a student at Central State University," recalls former city manager Bill Dashner. "Mike used to handle a lot of details. Every now and again I'd ask him to write me a speech. He was very loyal. He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt."