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New laws affect veterans preference points and the hearing process for discharging or demoting veterans.
(Published Jul 11, 2012)
The 2012 legislative session yielded two new laws pertaining to employment of veterans. City officials should take time to become familiar with these changes in order to avoid noncompliance with hiring and termination practices.
Points increased for disabled and nondisabled veterans
Chapter 192 (SF 1689) changes slightly a longstanding practice of cities for awarding veterans preference points during a hiring process. Since 1974, when the Legislature extended veterans point-based preference to cities and other governmental subdivisions, cities have been awarding five points to the application of a qualified nondisabled veteran and 10 points to the application of a qualified, disabled veteran.
As of April 19, 2012, cities are now required to award 10 points to a nondisabled veteran and 15 points to a disabled veteran. Cities that have not yet complied with the new law should consult with their city attorney about how to proceed. Any hiring processes that were begun after the law took effect should award the new, higher points to any veterans who meet the minimum qualifications for the position.
Selection of representative to hearing panel limited to 60 days
The Legislature also amended another section of the law dealing with veterans preference in city hiring. Under current law, when the city is preparing to discharge or demote a veteran, the city must notify the veteran of his or her right to a hearing in front of the city’s civil service commission. If there is no civil service commission, a three-person ad hoc panel must be appointed. The city selects one member of the ad hoc panel, the veteran must select another member, and those two members select the third member.
In the past, cities have sometimes been frustrated with the length of time the veteran took to select his or her panel member. Because the law requires the city to continue the pay and benefits of a veteran until a decision is rendered by the commission or panel, the city can be impeded from hiring an interim replacement worker due to budget considerations.
Chapter 230 (SF 2316) will now require the veteran to select his or her panel member within the first 60 days of being notified of the termination and of their right to a hearing, which should help speed up the process for a hearing. This change in the law is effective Aug. 1, 2012.
Chapter 230 also clarifies that cities have the same timeframe as the veteran to appeal a veterans preference decision in court, should they so choose. A recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision called into question the timeframes for appeals by cities. The change in law was advocated by the League in cooperation with the Veterans Affairs Office in order to clarify the issue.
Contact Laura Kushner
Human Resources Director
(651) 281-1203 or (800) 925-1122
Contact Anne Finn
Assistant IGR Director
(651) 281-1263 or (800) 925-1122
Each edition of the Focus on New Laws column highlights a law passed in the 2012 legislative session that cities need to know about. Please be sure to always consult your city attorney with technical questions about compliance with laws. For more information about new laws, check out the League’s 2012 Law Summaries (pdf).