Veterans now will get preference when they apply to work for the City of St. Louis, after Mayor Francis Slay signed the measure into law Monday.
After passing a civil service exam, veterans will be given an additional five points on their applications. Disabled veterans will get another five points on top of that, for a total of 10 points.
"We know that veterans are dedicated to serving others, which is exactly what city government does," Slay said. "So it makes sense that we work to attract loyal, well-disciplined and well-trained workforce, that we look to military servicemen and women in order to do that."
Twenty-second ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, himself a veteran, sponsored the Veterans Preference Bill. It required a city charter amendment that was approved by voters in November. Boyd said he believes the new law will show veterans that the city appreciates their service.
"Having served on active duty and returning home, I have first-hand experience of how difficult it can be when a soldier comes from active duty, matriculating back into the work-force in their hometown," he said.
Noting that it can be "very difficult and challenging at times" for veterans to make the transition back into civilian life, Slay said the law will give veterans better access to government-paid jobs. Some of the wide-ranging jobs could include positions with the city's police or fire departments; serving in its parks, recreation and forestry division; or even working as an electrician.
"Having put your own life at risk abroad or anywhere in the military and then coming back home and not being able to support your family or support yourself...it's not right," he said.
Slay said he hopes the city's move will be copied by other employers in St. Louis.
"Organizations, including the city, who hire veterans recognize their character, integrity, dedication, ingenuity and the invaluable contributions they will make to the future," Slay said.