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Veteran Information

Dear Veterans, Transitioning Military and Families:

The leadership and staff of Tompkins County appreciate your service and understand the qualities and work ethic that you will bring to us as an employee.  We are committed to assisting you, and your family, with a transition from Federal employment to local government employment and would like to help you navigate the civil service process. 

To give you an overview, Tompkins County has a population of approximately 105,000, and is located in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York. Ithaca, the county seat, sits at the southern tip of majestic Cayuga Lake in an area of dramatic gorges and waterfalls. Ithaca has a small-town atmosphere while showcasing the qualities of a much larger city through an abundance of restaurants, theatre, arts, shopping, cultural, and recreational activities. Rolling hills, beautiful and wild rural areas, quaint villages, farms, and open land surround our diverse population centers. Three institutions of higher learning – Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College ensure a stable and healthy economy with low unemployment.  We possess high quality grade, middle and high schools, a state-of-the-art medical center, a public transportation network, a regional airport, and three State parks.  This is a very unique place and there truly is something here for everyone.

Outdoor activities are limited only by your imagination.  Land-based options include; target shooting, hunting (whitetails, turkeys, waterfowl, pheasants, varmints and other small game), hiking (finger lakes and black diamond trails) and if you want to go off the beaten path, there are many square miles of vacant public land.  In season, we offer snow-shoeing, snowboarding, downhill and cross-country skiing, snow-mobiling, etc.  Obviously, Cornell sports will play a large part in your entertainment plans (football, hockey, lacrosse and basketball).  Water-based activities include; fishing (lake, rainbow, brown and brook trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, pan fish – both ice and open water) speedboats, jet-skis, water skiing, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, etc.  If racing is your sport, the Watkins Glen International Speedway is just a short drive away.  There are some smaller dirt tracks (stock car and motocross) relatively close too.  For those of you who are into flying, there is the East Hill Flying Club, parasailing, hang-gliding and hot air ballooning in the region.  I guess the only group that we can’t really cater to are submariners, but scuba divers can explore the crystal clear waters of Cayuga Lake.  If you enjoy a good beverage, there are a large number of pubs, micro-breweries, distilleries, and world-class wineries in Ithaca and scattered throughout the Finger Lakes region. 

Local government employment provides you with an excellent opportunity to continue to serve in a wide variety of capacities.  We currently have over 600 separate and distinct job titles.  Many of the Towns, Villages, School Districts and Special Districts fall under our jurisdiction and all opportunities go through the Tompkins County Vacancy List.  Most of our positions are competitive in nature - meaning you must score among the top three in a test in order to be granted a permanent appointment.  However, approximately 70% of the time opportunities come up for which there is no list and we do make what are called provisional (temporary) appointments pending the next examination.  This is where your real opportunities lie.  When you do participate in the exam process, keep in mind that the Constitution of New York State provides you with Veterans Credit (additional credits on your civil service examination score) if you are an honorably discharged veteran who served during a war or conflict period.  On examinations open to the public, this law provides you with an additional 5 points, if you are non-disabled, or an additional 10 points, if you are considered disabled.  These are points that get added to your list score thereby increasing the odds that you will be “among the top three.”  Once employed, you can take promotion examinations and get either 2.5 or 5 points added to a promotional score.  The Dept of Human Resources would need a copy of your military discharge papers in order to grant you these additional credits.  Unfortunately, due to our civil service rules, residency may be an issue.  Unless you see a job posted as "Residency Waived" you must live within Tompkins or one of the six surrounding counties in order to apply.  Veterans with disabilities may qualify for a non-competitive appointment to competitive class jobs through our Section 55A program. 

Tompkins County's benefit package include two weeks of paid vacation per year, twelve paid holidays, six paid personal days, three paid bereavement days, flexible work schedules, three Blue Cross and Blue Shield administered health insurance options, up to eight free confidential counseling sessions through our Employee Assistance Program, partial reimbursement for fitness memberships or participation in structured classes such as strength training, yoga or Pilates, partial reimbursement for weight loss programs, etc. 

For more information about Tompkins County employment, please contact Tompkins County Department of Human Resources, 125 E. Court St., Ithaca, NY, 14850.  Our phone number is 607-274-5526. 

Your local Workforce NY Veterans Affairs contact is J.R ClairborneDirector, Tompkins County Department of Veterans Services.  He can be contacted at (607) 274-5920.  The office is located at the Human Services Annex at  214 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, Ithaca, NY 14850 . You may want to explore the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs web site for additional ideas, employment and transition services.

Thank you for considering Tompkins County as your employer of choice as you transition into a civilian role.  Thank you for your service. 


Tompkins County Human Resources