TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Joseph Coniglio which would ensure that newly discharged veterans’ receive preference when applying for civil service jobs received unanimous final legislative approval today from the full Senate.
“It amazes me, that these men and women can risk their lives overseas, fighting in the name of our country, and when they get home so much time is wasted by waiting to grant them veterans’ preference status,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “This legislation would help ensure that we grant employment preference to eligible veterans so that they may compete for job opportunities prior to being discharged from the military.”
“Allowing our men and women in uniform to receive veterans’ preference would serve as a ‘thank you’ to those who risk so much working to protect the rest of us here at home,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “By allowing them to cut through some of the red tape associated with gaining veterans’ preference, they would be able to begin working as soon as they are ready.”
The Senators’ measure, S-2430, would allow 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 would provide 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 would 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 current law, a soldier who will be discharged and receive veteran status in August can 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 bill would allow the soldier to receive veteran’s preference although he or she was not technically a veteran when the exam application was submitted, the Senators said.
“This bill 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 would serve 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.
This measure now heads to the Governor’s desk where his signature would make it State law.