Mazzeo Introduces Bill to Give More Veterans Preference for Civil Service Jobs

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo has introduced legislation to extend eligibility for civil service preference to more military veterans in New Jersey.

The bill (A-3884) would require the state to give preference in hiring for state, county and municipal jobs to any individual who meets the federal definition of an eligible veteran, even if he or she does not meet the state definition, provided the individual receives a passing score on an open competitive examination.

Current New Jersey law requires veterans seeking preference in public employment to have served for at least 14 days in a combat theater during a time of war. Mazzeo noted that this requirement disadvantages veterans who were not selected to serve in combat roles during their time in the military.

“Veterans who had the incredible courage it takes to enlist and serve should not be denied preference simply because they were not among those ordered to fight on the front lines,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “No service member would hesitate to go anywhere in the world for America’s sake if asked. Whether they served in combat or not, we ought to express gratitude to all veterans for their willingness to serve selflessly.”

The legislation Mazzeo introduced would make any New Jersey veteran who meets requirements for preference at the federal level eligible for preference at the state level, regardless of whether he or she engaged in combat. To be eligible for veterans preference in the federal civil service, an individual must have an honorable or general discharge and have served:

– During the period Dec. 7, 1941 to July 1, 1955; or

– For more than 180 consecutive days, any part of which occurred after Jan. 31, 1955 and before Oct. 15, 1976; or

– During the Gulf War from Aug. 2, 1990 through Jan. 2, 1992; or

– In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized, including El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti, Lebanon, Panama, Somalia, Southwest Asia, Bosnia and the Global War on Terror.

“Veterans should never return to civilian life in New Jersey and find that they’re unable to support themselves and their families,” said Mazzeo. “This legislation will help ensure that those who have served in the military can work and continue to serve and make a difference in their communities.”

Voters must approve a constitutional amendment implementing the legislation via ballot measure in order for the provisions of the bill to apply.