Taylor: Feds rules on hiring should change for retirement home

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Fourth District Congressman Gene Taylor is trying to help some former employees of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport get their old jobs back.

The home, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina, was demolished and rebuild from the ground up. It's set to reopen in less than a month. The residents who once lived there were transferred to a facility in Washington, DC. Many are coming back to live in Gulfport. And likewise, many employees who once worked at the AFRH were hoping to get rehired.

"I have been informed by former employees of the AFRH that their applications to be re-hired are being denied," Taylor wrote in letters to the Armed Forces Retirement Home, the Bureau of Public Debt, and the Office of Personnel Management.

The AFRH operates under rules and guidelines established by the Office of Personnel Management regarding rehiring practices which allows for preference in hiring within a two year period. However, the home hadn't begun to hire until now, nearly five years after the home's destruction in the hurricane.

"Now that the AFRH is currently hiring staff and scheduled to open in the near future, I am requesting preference for the employees that are still interested in getting their jobs back," Taylor stated.

Hurricane Katrina has provided a number of challenges and created unique circumstances for Gulf Coast residents, Taylor's letter continued. The Reduction in Force that forced these workers out of their jobs is another classic example of these challenges that Gulf Coast residents have to continually work through. The usual standards applied by the Office of Personnel Management do not provide a way for these workers to regain their employment at the home.

Congressman Taylor requested that the agencies "work together to find a way to provide preference to the displaced workers that want their jobs back."

Read Congressman Taylor Letter to Armed Forces Retirement Home (PDF)

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.