Friday, March 7, 2003
By issue of an Executive Order, Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson has authorized full seniority and benefits for Atlantic County government employees who are called to active duty in response to the global war on terrorism or potential conflicts in Iraq or North Korea. This directive expands upon a previous Executive Order that addressed county employees deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, issued on November 20, 2001 in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Those currently called to duty are now entitled to the same compensation and benefits.
"There is no greater public service one can perform than to defend our country," stated Levinson. "It is our duty to ensure that these courageous men and women will return to their jobs without sacrificing important employee benefits. "
In addition to providing a guarantee of benefits, the Executive Order stipulates that county employees will receive a salary equal to the difference between their county salary and their military base pay for the duration of their activation along with county employee health benefits, life insurance and pension coverage. The directive takes effect immediately and applies to employees currently on active duty as well as those who may be called to duty in the future. Similar orders have been issued for federal and state employees.
A copy of Atlantic County's Executive Order appears below:
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS FOR EMPLOYEES
ON ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY
WHEREAS, the President of the United States has authorized the Secretary of Defense to call up select members of the Reserve and National Guard to active duty in response to the continuing Global War on Terrorism, potential armed conflict with Iraq, and heightened tensions with North Korea; and
WHEREAS, the President of the United States has also authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security to similarly call up members of the Coast Guard Reserve; and
WHEREAS, the Reserve and National Guard members who are activated during this crisis will serve a vital national interest for which they deserve the full support of the citizens of this County; and
WHEREAS, the County of Atlantic recognizes that a strong, ready Reserve and National Guard are essential to the defense of this country and vital to this County in times of emergency; and
WHEREAS, the County of Atlantic recognizes the personal and economic sacrifices of its employees serving in the Reserve and the National Guard who are called to active duty for or in support of these operations in response to the Global War on Terrorism, potential armed conflict with Iraq, and heightened tensions with North Korea.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Dennis Levinson, County Executive of Atlantic County, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
1. Atlantic County employees who are called to active duty during the continuing Global War on Terrorism, potential armed conflict with Iraq, and heightened tensions with North Korea, shall be entitled, upon termination of active duty, to return to County employment with full seniority and benefits consistent with state and federal military reemployment and seniority rights.
2. During active duty for the duration of their activation in this crisis, these County employees shall be entitled to receive a salary equal to the differential between the employee's County salary and the employee's military base pay following the exhaustion of statutory entitlements to full pay.
3. These County employees shall be entitled to County employee health benefits, life insurance and pension coverage during active duty service for which they receive differential salary as prescribed in this Order as if they were on paid leave of absence.
4. If a County employee's military base pay is greater than his or her County salary, such that he or she would not receive differential pay under paragraph 2 of this Order, that County employee shall, nonetheless, be entitled to County employee health benefits, life insurance and pension coverage during active duty service, with the County employee's contributory portion of those benefits and programs to be paid by the employee upon his or her return to County employment, after completion of active duty.
5. The Division Director of Human Resources shall implement this Executive Directive and each department, office, division, or agency of the County is authorized and directed, to the extent not inconsistent with law, to cooperate with the Division Director of Human Resources and to make available to the Division Director such information, personnel, and assistance as necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Directive.
This Directive shall take effect immediately and shall allow for the continuation of salary differential and benefits for those employees currently on active duty.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 7th day of March in the Year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Three.
DENNIS LEVINSON, County Executive
For more information, please contact Howard J. Kyle at (609) 343-2223.