TRENTON – The 14th District Republican candidates called Thursday for the Christie administration to delay the Civil Service ‘banding’ proposal until its possible effect on veterans can be presented to the public.
The candidates – including former Sen. Peter Inverso – sent a letter to the Civil Service Commission asking that the changes be held up so its potential effect on the practice of veterans preference can be studied.
Interestingly, his opponent, incumbent Sen. Linda Greenstein is fighting the banding proposal in its entirety.
The Christie administration has defended its proposal, which in essence would create groupings of job titles and responsibilities and reduce red tape.
But opponents argue it is a thinly disguised way to introduce favoritism in promotions of public workers.
Under Civil Service rules, a non-veteran cannot be vaulted over a veteran and opponents have testified, including at a Wednesday Senate committee hearing, that if this change goes through, veterans preference will be eliminated.
However, Gov. Christie said in a speech that same day that veterans will be protected as this change goes through.
Inverso, in his letter, indicated he wants to be sure.
“I am concerned that these reforms by the Civil Service Commission, without proper review, could have unintentional consequences for our veterans,’’ Inverso said in a release accompanying the letter.
He pointed out what the opponents have said: Civil Service is a sentry against political abuse.
The issue is key in the 14th District because it is home to many public workers who would be affected if the change goes through.
In the letter, Inverso also asks the Commission to assess the percentage of returning soldiers who gain employment through Civil Service, identify how many veterans have been hired since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and if this request requires formal action, it be placed on the Commission’s Sept. 26 agenda.