CIVIL SERVICE PREFERENCE TO WAR VETERANS

CIVIL SERVICE PREFERENCE TO WAR VETERANS

Several cancellations of subscriptions have recently been received by The FIRE ENGINEER from men in the New York Fire Department who gave as their reason for not caring to study fire engineering journals any more, the handicap they suffer from the placing of War Veterans on the preferential Civil Service List.

Inasmuch as these letters indicate an entire misconception of the present situation, an explanation might well be in order at this time.

A bill was passed by the State Legislature in 1920, and received the approval of the Governor, giving preference for promotion to all those who served in the war, on such lists as were in existence at the time, or established during the war, but those lists that are the result of examinations held since the signing of the armistice, are not affected by this law.

However, a bill to give permanent preference to the men referred to, in addition to Veterans of the Spanish American War, will come before the Legislature in the spring of 1921, and if passed will come before the people at the fall election. Should the people sig nify their approval by a majority vote then these men would get preference on all Civil Service lists.

The injustice of such a law can be readily seen by all impartial citizens, especially when applied to men in the Fire and Police Departments, for the following reasons: When Congress declared war between this country and Germany a great number from both de partments requested an indefinite leave of absence for the purpose of enlistment. Such leave was refused on the ground that the men in both departments were more needed at their posts, on account of the war, than ever before, especially in New York, it being the most important sea port city in the United States.

When the Draft Law was put into effect both the Fire and Police Commissioners applied to the authorities in Washington and were successful in having first grade men exempted from Class A. The result was that the younger men who had not yet reached first grade, were taken, and in many cases these same men did not signify their intention of volunteering, while many of the men who had requested the opportunity to enlist were held in the departments.

Does it seem fair to give preference to drafted men at the expense of men who were deprived of entering the war after showing their willingness to serve?

Not more than 30 men from the New York City Fire Department were sent to Europe, nearly all others having served in the Fire Department organizations at the cantonments throughout the country, and these men received from the city the difference in pay between that of a fireman and the salary paid for whatever rank they held in the army.

In addition, many young men then in other walks of life who were drafted, after having the chance to volunteer, but failed to do so, have since entered one or the other departments above mentioned, and if preference be given it will surely prove unjust to all those who were willing to don the uniform of Uncle Sam previous to the enforcement of the draft.

Men who have served years in the uniformed force, finding their chances of promotion almost a thing of the past, will naturally lose ambition, and to some extent interest in their duty, consequently the effieiency of both departments will be impaired. Men without hopes and ambition no matter in what line of endeavor they may be employed are more of a liability than an asset.

But there is no need to “cross the bridge before we get to it.”

We have faith in the justice and fairmindedness of our law-makers and cannot believe such a law will be enacted or approved by the electorate when once the injustice of it is made clear to them.

No posts to display