A Guide to
Preference in State Government
Explanation of Survey Questions
- A civil service/merit system is a hiring system based on state law. The
civil service/merit system sets a uniform standard of hiring and
retention. Factors such as test scores, previous work experience and
skills and abilities are primarily considered. This system is used in
part to guard against political favoritism and to ensure that the most
qualified candidates are appointed to positions.
- "Preference" means that a qualified veteran receives
additional points to an earned test score. Preference in placement
will go to a veteran if the veteran has a higher score or when a
veteran and a non-veteran are otherwise equally qualified for the job.
- Some states impose time limitations on how long a veteran may use
- With most states, the additional points for veterans' preference are
added on after the veteran has received a passing score on the exam
(i.e.-if a passing score is 70 and the veteran receives a 65, the
veteran will not receive the additional 5 points).
- Non-disabled veterans are generally awarded 5 points, and sometimes
- In most states there is a policy of granting 5 additional veteran
preference points to a disabled veteran's score(i.e.-while a
non-disabled veteran may receive 5 points, a disabled veteran will
receive 10 points). The survey found awarded points ranged from 5 to
- An eligible list is a ranked list of all those candidates who have met
the basic eligibility requirements to be considered for the relevant
position. Veterans who do not earn a passing score on their test may
not be placed on an eligible list.
- A few states, such as Alaska, Illinois, Maine, and New Jersey implement
promotion policies which include veteran status as ranking criterion
for promotion, along with seniority, education, and other factors.
- A certificate of eligible is a list of those candidates with the top
ranking scores on a qualifying test,, or a numerical rating system
that assess points for education, experience, skills and abilities. A
certified list is used by agency officials to schedule interviews and
make final selections for hiring. The survey found that the number of
names referred to an appointing (hiring) official varied from 3 to 10.
- In 13 states, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Montana, Nevada,
New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,
Tennessee and Washington, appointing authorities are required to
provide written justification to a veteran when the veteran is passed
over for selection in favor of a less qualified non-veteran.
- In certain government jobs, such as police officer or fireman, there
are age limitations which specify the maximum age for entry into the
profession. Age requirements may adversely affect some veterans,
particularly military retirees due to their long term service. Because
of these disadvantage, some states provide exceptions to age
requirements for veterans in some jobs, usually on a case-by-case
- Reduction-in-Force (RIF) is an option used by government agencies to
eliminate and/or downgrade positions for reasons such as
reorganization, lack of work, shortage of funds, or the exercise of
certain reemployment rights. In 20 states, veterans get preference in
retaining their jobs during a RIF.
- This question is designed to determine which states will count some or
all of a veterans military service toward retirement in their state
civil service or Merit System. The survey found that the majority of
states count some military service. These states do no: Delaware,
Indiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, South
Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.
- A majority of states surveyed indicated that certain positions may only
be filled by veterans' preference eligibles, this includes positions
filled under the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists
and Local Veteran Employment Representatives (LVER) programs. Veterans
hired under these two programs work for their state employment
service. Their primary mission is to counsel with and find jobs and
training opportunities for other veterans.
- None of the states surveyed limited their preference to only those
individuals who entered military service from their state. Preference
is therefore available to any legitimate veterans seeking a job,
without regard to one's resident state at the time of application.
- Special appeal rights are a means of redress for a veteran who feels
he/she was improperly passed over for an appointment or promotion or
was improperly separated from one's position Special appeal rights
also may be used to specifically address a perceived violation of
one's veterans preference. The means of appeal may include but is not
limited to, a written request for review by one's supervisor, an
internal hearing (within the agency) before a review board, or an
external hearing before a review board of non-agency members. Ten (10)
states responded that a special appeal right exist for veterans.
- A Governor's statement of goals and objectives for jobs training is
essentially the mission statement which addresses how the Governor
expects job training and placements to function and what it is
expected to accomplish. When a Governor includes veterans' jobs and
training and placement in his statement, this is an indication that
veterans' employment is a priority. The great majority of states
responding indicated veterans employment is a priority of their
State's Chief Executive.
Employment Assistance Service