Panel Clears Bill To Help NJ National Guard Members Secure Civil Service Positions When They Return From Active Duty

TRENTON – Bi-partisan legislation 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.

“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 Assemblyman Albert 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. 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. 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.

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