Q: Can we hire a current Veterans Affairs Department employee who is a well-qualified police officer (now serving under the regular Federal Employees Retirement System) as a firefighter if he is 58 years old? He also happens to be preference-eligible. Are we required to do a waiver for his age, which would mean he would retire at age 78? Is there an option for him to elect the regular retirement system and work as long as he wants? What if he’s not interested in retiring and just wants to work for a while?
A: Under 5 USC 3307, agencies are authorized to establish a maximum entry age for the original appointment of individuals to a firefighter position. All agencies employing firefighters have set that age at 37. The only exception is for preference-eligibles, and then only if age isn’t essential to the performance of the position’s duties.