Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on Preference for Veterans in Federal Employment.

February 26, 1944

Dear Mr. Mitchell:

I desire to have the Civil Service Commission, in connection with its recruiting activities, give special emphasis to placing veterans who are available in vacancies in the various departments and agencies.

I have learned with real interest of the plans which already have been formulated by the Civil Service Commission along these lines. I have been particularly gratified over the efforts that the Commission has made to study just what skills and abilities are needed in the performance of the specific jobs so that disabled veterans can be placed in positions where they can render effective service.

I am today addressing a communication to the heads of all departments and agencies urging that, whenever veterans are referred to them by the Civil Service Commission, they shall be given preference in the filling of positions. I am also urging the heads of the departments and agencies to take immediate steps to delegate, wherever there is a shortage of qualified personnel, full authority to the Civil Service Commission to recruit for them for specific vacancies in the departments and agencies. This will eliminate the delays incident to the Commission's referring a number of names to the departments and agencies and then having the departments and agencies decide who, among the persons referred to them, is to be selected for a particular position. In this manner veterans who are eligible for Federal positions will not be subjected to unnecessary delays in their search for employment with the Federal Government.

Under the provisions of the Selective Training and Service Act persons who have left other than temporary positions in the Federal service are entitled to their old positions or to positions of like seniority, status, and pay. I have learned that some confusion exists in the minds of various departments and agencies as to just what is the extent of their obligations under this Act.

I am therefore designating the Civil Service Commission as the agency which is responsible for issuing, from time to time, as my representative, instructions as to just what the departments and agencies shall do under specific sets of circumstances in granting reemployment rights to veterans. In discharging this responsibility, it is my desire that the Civil Service Commission give full weight to the spirit and intent back of Section 8(A) of the Selective Training and Service Act. The Federal Government, as an employer, must act in connection with these matters in such a manner as to leave no doubt in the minds of the citizens of this country of its intention to fully comply with the promises made to the members of our armed services through the Selective Training and Service Act.

If the Commission notes any reluctance upon the part of any department or agency of Government to conform to the instructions relative to the reemployment of returning veterans which may be issued from time to time, I desire to have this reluctance called to my attention at once through the Liaison Officer for Personnel Management.

Very sincerely yours,

Honorable Harry B. Mitchell, President, U.S. Civil Service Commission, Washington, D.C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on Preference for Veterans in Federal Employment. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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