Here is a quiz, dear reader – guess which individual(s) qualify for Veteran’s preference in hiring and retention for Federal jobs in accordance with OPM guidelines
Person 1 – Retired, from the Active Army after a 20 year career, as a Major
Person 2 – Discharged from Active Duty with an Honorable Discharge after 2 years enlisted service 1974-1976.
Person 3 – Army Reserve soldier enters Retired Reserve after 28 years Reserve service (never selected for deployment)
Who did you pick – all three? The answer is: only person 2 qualifies for veteran’s preference. Seems incredible that the two retirees are both excluded - one due to status as a retiree in the grade of Major from Active Duty the other due to the fact that the individual was never called to participate (although trained and maintained readiness) in a campaign awarding a medal or active duty during a covered period.
Military retirees at the rank of major, lieutenant commander, or higher are not eligible for preference in appointment unless they are disabled veterans. (This does not apply to Reservists who will not begin drawing military retired pay until age 60.)
Active duty for training or inactive duty by National Guard or Reserve soldiers does not qualify as "active duty" for preference
The rules are maintained by the Office of Personnel Management which is the HR agency for the Federal Government – as you can guess, we have a hodgepodge of rules that includes some members of the military that served during covered periods of time and excludes others that devote entire careers to serving our country whether active or Reserve.
Today we make costly enticements to our youth to serve, while we snub those that have served with respect to offering them improved consideration for government positions – what kind of message does that send? I believe there is a need and value for continued service member representation throughout the Federal Government. We should at least offer a token to those that have done so much for this country by improving or equitably setting policies for hiring opportunities and retention rights within the Federal Government.
You can see other rules at the US Office of Personnel Management at their Vet Guide http://www.opm.gov/veterans/html/vetguide.asp#2Types