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Ohio Attacks Veterans Preference

A newly proposed bill in Ohio (House Bill 153) changes the old model for Veterans Preference when ex-military candidates apply for state jobs. The new provision no longer allows veterans the same hiring benefit from service as before. Veterans will still get around 20 percent additional points added to their “score." These scores are compiled after an assessment of the background, qualifications and experience of the applicant. With the new bill, Ohio agencies are able to select from the top 25 percent of applicants when more than 10 people apply and can now view all the scoring side by side, before and after the Preference Points. This will erode the benefit of the preference, in certain cases.

Explained. For example, Bill Veteran and Joe College apply for the same job and have the best credentials. Bill scores 100 and Joe scores 95. Add the 20 percent Preference. Now Bill scores 120. But Joe may still get the job because his score is within 25 percent of the top score.

Who cares? While this change may sound insignificant to some, it places a limited benefit to military service, something government employers used to value. In addition, a veteran could score higher without the preference and still not get the job because of the top 25 percent hiring cutoff. As a result, it could encourage cronyism, something our government needs lot less of these days. So, for the government hiring agents who have a particular disdain for veterans, this could become a problem. As a result, there may no longer be a benefit of service in this arena. In typical 1984 Double Speak, a veteran still gets the "Veterans Preference" without the actual preference. Yet another classic chip away at the veterans benefits we've earned. More wars, but less benefits for those who fight them.

Another nail in the coffin. State and Federal jobs used to be a reliable alternative to private sector employment for veterans choosing to align their careers with their military service. After service, a government job served as a straightforward way to continue a career in service of country without the inconsistencies of military life. With the current downward trend in hiring of veterans, now more than ever, these government jobs serve as a reliable source of employment. Private sector employers are reluctant to fill job openings with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, causing many veterans to omit military service from their resumes. But high veteran unemployment and hiring discrimination be-damned. Our country is quickly developing a Vietnam-esq amnesia when it comes to her veterans.

Take Action. For Ohio veterans, don’t take this one in the rump. Contact your Ohio state representative to let them know we will not be forgotten again.

Go to DisabledVeterans.org to see more of articles on the current attack on veterans benefits.

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