Council OKs advantage for veterans in hiring


Military veterans applying for work with Harford County will have 5 percent or 10 percent added to their test scores under a preference law passed by the County Council.

The measure, which was suggested by the county's Commission on Veterans Affairs, was approved last week by a 6-0 vote, with District A Councilwoman Susan B. Heselton absent.

George Mitchell, a veteran of the Korea and Vietnam wars who heads the county's veterans commission, said the new law will bring Harford into line with the state and federal governments' hiring practices.

Harford already had a veterans' preference law, but it simply said that if all things were equal, the veteran should get the job. The issue came up recently, Mr. Mitchell said, when a Gulf War veteran was turned down for a county job.

According to Mr. Mitchell, that veteran, whom he declined to name, was equal in every way with a nonveteran applicant, except that his test score was a few points lower. Under the newly adopted law, that veteran would have gotten the job.

"It's not to discriminate against anybody," Mr. Mitchell said. "It's to reward someone for serving his country."

In other action this week, the council:

* Authorized the public works department to spend $53,000 to dredge and repair the Churchville fire pond.

* Denied the zoning appeal of Leonard Burke, a Forest Hill truck driver who parks his tractor-trailer outside a home he rents in the 2700 block of Grier Nursery Road. The zoning commissioner ruled last month that Mr. Burke could no longer park the truck in the primarily agricultural area. Tuesday night, the council agreed.

* Held a public hearing on a suggestion by the county health department and public works department that a mobile home park outside of Aberdeen be hooked up to the Swan Creek public sewer system.

The Trailor Rancho Mobile Home Park, off Old Post Road, just north of Aberdeen, operates on a private septic system for the approximately 120 mobile homes in the park.

In recent years, that septic system has failed, spilling sewage into nearby Swan Creek, said John T. Lamb, director of environmental health for Harford County. The spills create a health emergency that requires the trailer park getting hooked up, he said.

* Agreed to pay $55,390 to the accounting firm of Wooden and Benson to audit the county books this year.

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