Assembly Panel Clears Wilson & Coutinho Bill to Help NJ National Guard & Reserve Members Secure Work When They Return Home from Active Duty

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gilbert L. “Whip” Wilson and Albert Coutinho that would help members of the New Jersey National Guard and the reserve component of the Armed Forces called to active military service secure their spot on certain civil service eligibility lists was released last week by an Assembly committee.

“We depend on these soldiers in times of trouble at home and overseas. They should not be penalized for their dedication to our state and country,” said Wilson (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This legislation will allow Guard and Reserve members who are deployed while a new list is generated, to carry their original test score onto the new list upon their return from active duty.”

“Jobs are hard enough to come by in this economy, but even harder for service members who can be called to active duty at any time,” said Coutinho (D-Essex). “These soldiers should not have to forfeit a job opportunity because of their military service. This bill helps ensure that these soldiers have a fair shot at securing employment to support their families when they return home.”

The bill (A-1400) would allow a member of the Guard or the Reserves who is called to active federal military service – and who was on an active open competitive employment list prior to deployment that expired before the member returned home – to be placed on an active open competitive employment list identical to the list the member was on prior to being called to service.

The new list must be of the same title, jurisdiction and test mode as the original list. The Adjutant General will determine whether the person was called to active federal military service.

Under the bill, a service member will have one year from the expiration date of the original list he or she was on to submit proof of service and an application to be placed on a new list. Placement on the new list will be for prospective appointments only, and the service member may request placement on a maximum of two consecutive lists. Placement on the new list will be based on the score on the original list and members will be listed after disabled veterans and veterans.

The bill is a result of the specific case SFG John K. Blagojevich from Audubon, NJ. SFG Blagojevich was called to active duty while being considered for a civil service position. He was dropped from consideration for that position due to his deployment. SFG Blagojevich was still deployed during the next testing cycle and was ineligible for placement on the next list generated.

The bill was unanimously released by the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee and now heads to the full Assembly for further consideration.