Bill could make it easier for service men and women to get jobs

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A St. Louis Alderman kicked off the Veterans Day Weekend by introducing a bill that could make getting city jobs easier for servicemen and women.

Jeffrey Boyd is alderman of the 22nd Ward in St. Louis City.  But in 1990, he was a staff sergeant in the United States Army.  He was also looking for work.

“What I found was I wasn’t part of a network, an employment network so it was very difficult to find meaningful employment,” Boyd remembered.  “As Veterans Day was approaching this year, I was just thinking, ‘What can I do to honor and support our veterans?’”

So at Friday’s aldermanic board meeting, he introduced a bill that could help service men and women applying for city jobs by awarding bonus points on civil-service exams.

“They would get five points if they are a regular veteran and ten points if they are a disabled veteran,” he explained.  “However, it will not help them to pass.  They actually have to qualify for the position.”

And veterans would have to have been honorably discharged.  Boyd says he spoke personally with military lawyers and personnel officials about gay and lesbian candidates who were discharged for their sexual preference under the old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“They told me, overwhelmingly, the vast majority of people who were discharged on a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ got an honorable discharge.”

Some might consider the procedure to be preferential treatment for military veterans.   Boyd said servicemen and women leave their families and risk their lives, sometimes for years at a time.

“So I think their loyalty, their dedication to their community, their dedication to their country; it warrants preferential treatment.”

There was no immediate vote by the board.  But, Boyd said he was getting a lot of supportand he did not expect any major roadblocks to passage.

If the board approves the bill, voters will have their say in the general election next November’s general election, the week before Veterans Day 2014.

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