An apology and call for help to battle injustice

First, I must briefly explain my long absence from The Nerd Deal. Up until a month ago, I was just a grad student who worked part time. This left plenty of time for keeping abreast of all this world’s happenings and goings-on. However, in September I started an internship at the Governor’s office here in the (occasionally) great State of Illinois and had my hours at work increased. The chance to actually do something concrete to help the citizenry, as well as a heftier paycheck, both make me happy. But the increased workload has severely limited my time to devote to things such as blogging. I hope to force more hours into my day and get back to a semi-regularly posting schedule, but in the event that doesn’t happen, I sincerely apologize.

Now on to the actual content of this post.

Today we received a letter from a veteran of the war of Afghanistan who was passed over for a position at a publicly-funded entity (I cannot say which one for confidentiality reasons) in favor of someone who had neither performed as well on the exam for said position nor was a veteran. Me, being naive, thought that all entitites which are part of the state budget had veterans’ preference, so this case immediately set off some alarm bells in my head. I got in touch with an individual at state Central Management Services who told me that veterans’ preference only applies to agencies, not other ‘entities.’ Apparently there is some legal loophole that can be exploited depending on how applicants are tested (state agencies use a category system, whereas other entities can use a percentage ranking).

I believe this is a pretty gross injustice by itself. And this veteran went so far as to send his service ribbons to the governor’s office, as he felt that they meant nothing if the state couldn’t take care of those who had served the public interest to the highest degree. If you don’t know anything about the military, then you need to understand the powerful symbolism of such a gesture. It’s not something you want to see soldiers do, so when it happens, you ought to pay attention. And to put the icing on this proverbial cake, the envelope the letter came in was ripped, contained only the letter, and had a nice stamp from the US Postal Service saying that the envelope was damaged in transit and they hoped there was no damage to its contents and to please accept their apology. No ribbons. Fuck you, USPS.

Pretty unbelievable, right?

Well, I want to do something about it. I’ve started researching the legal aspects of veterans’ preference in the State of Illinois with my contact, but if there is anybody out with either similar stories about veterans being passed over for positions at public entities or information or experience with the legal elements cases involved veterans’ preference, please leave a comment with links or contact information so that we can cover as potential exigencies as possible.

Regardless of how you feel about the wars, this is about providing a way to help bring those men and women who have risked their lives because their country asked them to back into the folds of society. And given how miserable our services for returning veterans have been in the past, the least we can do explore ways to right this one injustice.

    • Mike Kelley
    • October 6th, 2010

    I’m pretty sure there’s an appeal process for him, isn’t there? Or not, because it is an entity? If you are able to more specifically define entity without compromising confidentiality, it might be helpful.

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