Haslam Defends End to Veteran Preferences in State Hiring

Both Republican and Democratic legislators protested Tuesday a proposal by Gov. Bill Haslam that would eliminate the preference now given to military veterans in state government hiring.
Under current law, hiring for state job positions is based in part on a point system and veterans, as well as spouses of deceased and disabled veterans, are given extra points to increase the prospects. One provision in Haslam’s bill that repeals much of the current state civil-service law system for hiring and firing state employees (HB2384) eliminates the point system and any preference for veterans or their spouses.
The only special treatment for veterans is a guarantee that they will be interviewed when they apply.
In a meeting of the House State and Local Government Committee Tuesday, House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville first pointed out the provision and said “it gives me a little heartburn.” Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, said the provision is “almost an insult” to veterans.
Haslam, asked about the legislator objections later in the day, said the guaranteed interview is the “maximum preference” that can be given anyone under the new system his legislation creates and he believes that adequate.
“They will always be guaranteed a right to an interview,” he said.
Similar comments were offered in the committee hearing by supporters of the bill, prompting Cobb to declare, “As a veteran, I see it differently.” The chance to be interviewed is no real preference at all, he said.

Leave a Reply