View Full Version : Fed agencies avoid hiring vets, critics say

09-05-07, 06:24 PM
Fed agencies avoid hiring vets, critics say
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Sep 5, 2007 17:05:13 EDT

A House subcommittee will hear testimony Thursday that some federal human resources managers appear to be taking extraordinary steps to avoid hiring or promoting veterans.

The House Veterans’ Affairs economic opportunity panel is investigating whether the government is following veterans’ preference rules that apply to hiring, promotion and saving a job during a reduction-in-force.

Overall, the federal government appears to be doing well by veterans, according to committee sources who spoke on the condition that they would not be identified. About one-quarter of all permanent federal workers are veterans, the sources said.

Complaints that some jobs and some promotions are being denied to veterans are not new. Veterans’ service organizations have complained for several years that some agencies are using complicated hiring processes that allow jobs to be opened, closed, and reopened with descriptions modified in a way that seems intended to prevent or hamper veterans from being hired.

One witness scheduled to appear at tomorrow’s hearing will be an Air Force Audit Agency worker who says managers rigged the system against him.

A 1998 law, the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act, was supposed to open more federal jobs to people who served in the military and create a formal process for veterans to appeal when they believed they were wrongly denied a job or a promotion. The law does not require every agency to use the same hiring practice, which is one factor in the confusion.

Representatives from the American Federation of Government Employees, the American Postal Workers Union, Disabled American Veterans and Vietnam Veterans of America are scheduled to testify, along with federal officials from the Office of Personnel Management, the Labor Department, and Merit Systems Protection Board who are involved in setting policy for hiring and promotions and the appeals process. Also appearing will be representatives from the departments of defense, agriculture and veterans affairs.