The Public Service:

Veterans' Preference in Hiring and Reductions-in-Force

T-GGD-98-88: Published: Mar 24, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 1998.

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GAO discussed the work its done on veterans' hiring preference and on reductions-in-force (RIF) at selected military installations and at the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

GAO noted that: (1) preference-eligible veterans represent a larger portion of the federal workforce than veterans do of the civilian workforce; (2) from 1993 through 1997, veterans with preference represented about 21 percent of all new career appointments to federal service; (3) the assignment of veterans' preference and the placement of veterans on federal hiring certificates were properly done in nearly all cases GAO reviewed from July 1990 through June 1991; (4) however, hiring officials more frequently returned unused those certificates headed by the names of preference-eligible veterans than those without the names of preference-eligible veterans at the top; (5) in the three RIFs conducted at military installations in fiscal year 1991, GAO's review showed that those without veterans' preference were much more likely to have lost their jobs than were preference-eligible veterans; (6) similarly, during an October 1995 RIF at the USGS, those employees without veterans' preference were much more likely to have lost their jobs than employees with such preference; (7) GAO found that during USGS's 1995 RIF, as required by law and Office of Personnel Management Regulations, employees with veterans' preference were consistently given higher retention standing than competing employees without such preference; and (8) GAO also found that preference-eligible veterans were just as likely to be affected in some manner during the RIF as were employees without veterans' preference.

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