Veterans' Preference

Purpose

Current law requires the state and its political subdivisions to give employment preference in hiring and retention to all veterans, Florida Nation Guard members, reserve components of the United states Armed Forces, Gold Star Mother and Fathers, widows or widowers, legal guardians, and certain spouses who meet specified criteria. This information applies to all applicants and employees of the Walton County Clerk & Comptroller’s Office except for certain positions exempt from the veterans’ preference requirement including, but not limited to, heads of department and personal assistant to the Clerk & Comptroller.

The regulations on Veterans’ preference directly affect the screening and selection process, which is the responsibility of the hiring manager and Human Resources Department. Prior to an applicant being offered a conditional offer of employment, Human Resources will consult with the hiring manager.

Information

A: Initial Appointment         

1. Recruitment
  1. Job Postings: job vacancy announcements that are entitled to consider under this procedure will include the phrase, “Veterans’ Preference Applies.”
  2. Employment Application
    1. Electronic applications will contain a supplemental instructions/procedures sheet regarding Veterans Preference and a supplemental Veterans’ Preference Claim form (Attachments 1 and 2).
    2. The Clerk & Comptroller’s employment applications required the applicant to indicate whether they are claiming Veterans’ Preference. In those cases where the applicant answers ‘yes,’ the applicant will be asked to complete the Veterans’ Preference Claim Form requiring them to identify which fo the eligibilities scenarios apply.
2. Applicants Eligible:
  1. A disabled veteran who has served on active duty in any branch of the United States Armed Forces (i.e. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, and Coast Guard).
  2. The spouse of a veterans who:
    1. Has a total and permanent service-connected disability and who, because of this disability, does not qualify for employment; or
    2. Is missing in action, captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
  3. A veteran of any war who has served at least one day during that wartime period or who has been awarded a campaign or expeditionary medal. Active duty for training may not be allowed for eligibility under this provision.
  4. The unmarried widow widower of a veteran who died of a service-connected disability.
  5. The mother, father, legal guardian, or un-remarried widow or widower of a member of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty under combat-related conditions, as verified by the DoD.
  6. A veteran as defined in s. 1.10(14), Fla. Stat.– a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under honorable conditions only or who later received an upgraded discharge under honorable conditions, notwithstanding any action by the United States Department Veterans Affairs on individuals discharged or released with other than honorable discharges, To receive benefits as wartime veteran, a veteran must have served in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized or during one of the following periods of wartime service:
    1. World War II: December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946.
    2. Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955.
    3. Vietnam Era: February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975.
    4. Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990 to January 2, 1992.
    5. Operation Enduring Freedom:   October 7, 2021 to TBD)
    6. Operation Iraqi Freedom: (March 19, 2003 to TBD)
  7. A current member of any reserve component of the United States Armed Forces or the Florida National Guard.
3. Eligibility Verification
The applicant must establish eligibility for consideration under the Veterans’ Preference statutes prior to the closing date of the position as follows:
Proof of Veterans Eligibility:
  1. Veterans, disabled Veterans, and spouses of disabled Veterans and family members must furnish a copy of the DD Form 214, or military discharge papers, or equivalent certification from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) listing military status, dates of service, and Character of Discharge.
  2. Disabled Veterans must also provide documentation from the Department of Defense (DoD) or DVA certifying that the veteran has a compensable service-connected disability.
  3. Spouses of disabled Veterans must provide:
    • Documentation from DoD or DVA certifying that the person on active duty is listed as missing in action, captured in the line of duty, or forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government power.
    •  Evidence of marriage to the person on active duty.
    • A written statement that the spouse is still married to the person active duty at the time of application for employment.
  4. The mother, father, legal guardian, or un-remarried widow or widower of deceased Veteran must provide:
      • Documentation from the DoD or DVA certifying the service-connected death of the veteran.
      • Evidence of marriage to the deceased Veteran.
      • A written statement that the spouse is not remarried.
Failure by the applicant to provide the required documentation will invalidate the claim for Veterans’ Preference for the vacant position.
4. Selection Process
The eligible applicant must first reach a passing score before Veterans’ Preference points can be added. Therefore, if it has been determined that a passing score is 75, the applicant MUST first achieve a 75 on the proficiency tests.

B:  Reinstatement and/or Promotion

      1. When an eligible employee leaves employment with the Clerk & Comptroller’s office to serve in the Armed Forces, the Clerk & Comptroller will reinstate the employee to the same or equivalent position within one (1) year of separation or discharge provided the employee is separated under honorable conditions, and proof of such service is documented in the form of a new DD Form 214. This provision applies for both voluntary and involuntary service and for active military service only, service such as reserve drills or training does not apply.
      2. Those employees reinstated under this provision will be awarded preference in promotion. Specifically, when a promotion opportunity exists, should the Veteran be as qualified as the most qualified contender, the Veteran MUST be offered the promotion. This entitlement expires with Veteran’s first promotion.
      3. A Veterans’ Preference eligible applicant is entitled to multiple promotions if they have had multiple deployments under Title 10 and returned “Honorably.” In these situations, each deployment warrants a promotion opportunity.

C: Retention

      1. When layoffs or a reduction-in-force are necessary, special consideration of the retention of employees shall be given as follows:
        1. First, to those applicants under 2.a; and
        2. Second, to applicants under 2.b., 2.d., 2.e., and 2.g. above.
      2. In those cases where two (2) employees otherwise equally compare under the Clerk & Comptroller’s procedures and one is a Veteran, the Veteran must be retained.
      3. Records shall be maintained to document the manner of retention and the propriety of the retention decision process.

D: Right to an Investigation

A preference-eligible applicant who believes that they were not afforded employment preference in accordance with applicable Florida law and regulation may file a complaint requesting an investigation.
 
The complaint must be filed within 60 calendar days from the date he/she received notice of non-select from the hiring agency. Complaints should be filed with:
 
Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA)
Benefits and Assistance Division
9500 Bay Pines Blvd.
Suite 214
Bay Pines, FL 33744
(727) 319-7440
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