Iowa Code 35C is the Veteran’s Preference Law. It was designed to honor our Iowa Veterans who honorably served in the military by providing them a hiring preference in State government and Iowa’s political subdivisions. Previously, this law was so poorly drafted, governmental agencies were not required to follow the law and courts did not uphold the law.

Recently Section 9(1) was added and reads as follows: “The department of workforce development, in coordination with the department of administrative services, shall establish a clearinghouse for the purpose of providing information to the state, political subdivisions of the state, and veterans who are citizens and residents of the United States, concerning the rights and duties relating to providing veterans preference as required by this chapter.”

This last spring I was denied a veteran’s preference even though I was clearly the most qualified. So I recently contacted Iowa Workforce Development just to learn how this new addition to the Iowa code functioned.

Today I received a phone call from Workforce Development. After I explained the situation, Workforce basically explained he would contact the offending governmental agency and explain the recommendation would be: follow the law.

I laughed and laughed.

When my laughter subsided, I asked what power he had to enforce the law. Workforce said none. So I explained, what we now have is another layer of bureaucracy designed to contact an unsuccessful veteran in the hiring process that this agency is apologizing that the veteran will not be hired but there is nothing that Workforce can do to require 35C be enforced. He agreed, the State of Iowa now has him apologizing that the Veteran’s Preference Law still cannot be enforced. Workforce Development now has an additional duty to be a cheerleader, begging political subdivisions “Please do not break the law”.

Happy Veteran’s Day, Veterans!

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