TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Joseph Coniglio which will ensure that newly discharged veterans’ receive preference when applying for civil service jobs was has been signed into law by Governor Jon S. Corzine.
“I am amazed that these men and women can put their lives on the line, fighting in the name of our country, and when they get home they have to wait to receive veterans’ preference for employment,” said Senator Madden, D-Gloucester and Camden. “This law will help ensure that the State grants employment preference to eligible veterans so that they may compete for job opportunities prior to being discharged from the military.”
“This legislation will serve as a ‘thank-you’ to the men and women who risk their lives overseas, sometimes for multiple tours of duty, fighting to protect the rest of us here at home,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “By allowing our men and women in uniform to receive the veteran’s preference status before being discharged they will be able to secure employment before being discharged so that they are able to begin working as soon as they are ready.”
The Senators’ measure, S-2430, allows new veterans to qualify for veterans’ preference for a civil service position even though they were still in the military at the time of the exam and throughout the scoring process. The legislation provides that if proof of veteran status is submitted up to eight days before a hiring list is established based on test rankings, that new veteran will qualify for veterans’ preference.
Veterans’ preference provides hiring preference and up to ten extra points to civil service exam scores, which require a score of 70 or higher to pass. Often, civil service exam application deadlines are months ahead of the actual exam date, causing a dilemma for soldiers still on active duty, said Senator Coniglio.
For example, under the old law, a soldier who will be discharged and receive veteran status in August would be able to apply in January for a May exam, but not have the test scored until October. Although the veteran will have been discharged in August, he or she would not receive veteran’s preference when the exam is scored. This new law allows the soldier to receive veteran’s preference although he or she will not technically be a veteran when the exam application was submitted, the Senators said
“This law is the result of a cooperative effort between Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth (Head of the State Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs), and Rolando Torres Jr., Commissioner of the Department of Personnel, to find a solution to the preference qualification delays facing many new veterans,” said Senator Madden. “This bill serves as a ‘thank you” to the soldiers who put their lives on the line trying to protect our freedoms.”
The measure initially passed the Senate on December 15, 2006. Before the bill passed the full Assembly, a number of amendments were adopted, including a clarification that veterans who received a determination of their status no later than eight days prior to the issuance of an employment list for which that veteran received a passing score would qualify for Veteran’s Preference.
The final version of the legislation received unanimous final legislative approval from the Senate on June 18, 2007.