TO: Department and Agency Personnel Officers
FROM: Robert Parrish
SUBJECT: Veterans' Credits
A recent Policy Bulletin (85-01) clarified the eligibility rules for veterans' credits in light of the Soto-Lopez decision. You should also be aware that the current eligibility requirements, as listed in the attachment to the Commissioner's memorandum, reflect another change which resulted from a separate court decision.
As a result of the Court of Appeals decision in Matter of the City of New work, et al v. City Civil Service Commission, National Guard members activated during the US Postal Strike during the period 3/23/70 to 3/30/70 are no longer eligible for veterans' status based solely on such service. The Court held that veterans' status under Section 85 of the Civil Service Law should be granted only to those whose service "was on a full-time basis evidencing a sacrifice in the form of disruption of civilian life and divorce from civilian occupation..." and should be denied if it "did not significantly interfere with the applicant's normal employment and way of life." The Court rejected a lower court holding in an earlier case which granted veterans' credits based on four days of duty during the postal strike.
As the Section 85 definition addressed in this case applies to both examination credits and preference in retention, neither should be granted to veterans basing their claim solely on service during the 1970 postal strike.
Because of the relatively small number of people affected by this change, we are not asking agencies to undertake a general canvass of their employees. However, agencies involved in a reduction in force must review the records of employees currently having veterans' status to determine if such status needs to be rescinded based on the court decision described above.