Press Release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus, Feb. 21, 2012:
NASHVILLE (February 21) – Governor Bill Haslam’s plan to change the personnel policies of Tennessee state employees would eliminate preference given to military veterans and spouses of deceased and disabled veterans.
Haslam’s “TEAM Act,” sponsored by House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R- Chattanooga) and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Colllierville) eliminates the Civil Service Commission. Under present law, applicants to state jobs are scored based on a variety of measures and preference is given to veterans and spouses of veterans who are applying for jobs in Tennessee.
“We have always given our veterans and their spouses’ preference in finding jobs in Tennessee,” House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner said. “These men and women have fought for our freedoms overseas, and we need to do everything that we can to take care of them when they return home.”
During Tuesday’s State and Local Government Committee meeting, Turner was joined by Republican members who also spoke out against eliminating the preference given to veterans. Haslam’s proposal would guarantee veterans receive an interview, but no preference would be given to them in the hiring process. House Government Operations Chairman Jim Cobb (R- Spring City) said during the committee that to him, giving veterans an interview, but no preference in hiring, is “almost an insult to a veteran.”
Haslam’s new proposal does nothing to help spouses of deceased and disabled veterans find a job. Presently, spouses are also given preference in finding employment in Tennessee.
“Now, more than ever, we need to be helping our military and their spouses find jobs. They have put their lives on the line for all of us in Tennessee. The governor’s proposal to eliminate preference given to our military and their spouses does not treat our veterans with the respect they deserve,” Turner said.