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Sheriff’s officer sues, says he was passed over for promotion because of military service

A U.S. Navy Sailor marshals the last F-35C Lightning II to leave Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, May 23, 2019. Consolidation of F-35C resources to Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, enables the U.S. Navy to support Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) production, operational fleet transitions for both Navy and Marine Corps squadrons, Initial Operations Test & Evaluation (IOT&E) and Naval Aviation Warfare Development Command (NAWDC) requirements. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Cassidy Woody)

A sheriff’s officer who is a military veteran has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit, alleging his service in the U.S. Navy reserves contributed to him being passed over for a promotion to sergeant.

In a suit filed in federal court in Camden on Thursday, Gloucester County Sheriff’s Officer David H. Young says after returning from a two-plus year stint in the U.S. Navy reserves, he was reassigned to a less desirable unit and is earning less money because of a lack of built-in overtime.

“The county does not comment on matters of litigation; however the county does follow civil service guidelines that includes veterans’ preference,” county spokeswoman Debra Sellitto said in an email.

Young says he let his bosses know he’d be interested in being promoted but contends he didn’t receive a notice of certification from the Civil Service Commission because the U.S. Postal Service stopped forwarding his mail. He had no access to his work email because the sheriff’s office suspended his account while he was on military duty at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California beginning in late April 2017.

Young, however, spoke to his boss in February 2019 when he was informed that his deployment had been extended to June. During that conversation, Young let his lieutenant know that had he was interested in being promoted, according to the suit.

He also attempted to ensure the sheriff’s office and postal service had his correct address when he learned he hadn’t been receiving information about promotions and civil service exams.

Eligible candidates who pass the civil service exam are mailed a notice and then have five days to let the commission know they’re interested in the promotion, the suit says.

Young was one of four candidates eligible to be bumped up and would have gotten the sergeant’s job since the “veteran’s preference” on a promotional list means he’d be selected above a non-veteran, even if that non-veteran was above him.

Young was third on the four-candidate list but the job ended up going to the fourth person on the list – a veteran who jumped the top candidate. Like Young, the second person on the list didn’t respond in time, according to the suit.

Young, who has been a public employee since 2007, is paid an annual salary of $91,524, according to state pension records.

Young’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.


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