Arizona municipalities proclaim Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week Published Sept. 22, 2011 By the Arizona Office for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve PHOENIX -- Scott Essex, State Chair of the Arizona Office for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Committee (ESGR), an agency of the Department of Defense, announced that 37 Arizona municipalities completed proclamations declaring the week of September 19-23, 2011, as "Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week." The following municipalities completed the proclamations: State of Arizona Town of Gilbert City of Phoenix City of Prescott Tempe Chamber City of Yuma Town of Show Low Navajo County City of Mesa City of Scottsdale City of Sedona Town of Payson Town of Chino Valley City of Peoria City of Chandler City of Sierra Vista Town of Sahuarita Green Valley Oro Valley Town of Thatcher Pinetop/Lakeside City of Douglas Maricopa County Pima County Pinal County Yuma County Cochise County Gila County Greenlee County City of Bisbee City of Casa Grande Town of Snowflake City of Cottonwood City of Tempe Yavapai County Coconino County City of Flagstaff The proclamations declare that these municipalities pledge the following: · We fully recognize, honor and enforce the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act (USERRA). · The National Guard and Reserve are essential to the strength of our nation and the well being of our communities. · That they will have the tools they need to effectively manage their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. "Today, supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation's National Guard and Reserve units. I am asking all Arizona employers to review and amend their current human resources policies to ensure compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)," said Essex. "Many Arizona employers provide 'above and beyond' support with pay differential to offset the loss of wages, and extension of health care benefits, which complement coverage provided by the military, when their employees are mobilized." The proclamations were issued in conjunction with the release of the 2011 Secretary of Defense Freedom Awards scheduled for September 22, 2011. The Secretary of Defense Freedom Award recognizes 15 employers annually who provide exceptional support to their Guard and Reserve employees across the United States. Over 4100 nominations were received in 2011 and Arizona's Town of Gilbert was one of the 15 recipients of this prestigious recognition. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a Department of Defense agency established in 1972. The mission of ESGR is to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law, and resolving conflict through mediation. ESGR volunteers provide free education, consultation, and if necessary mediation for employers of Guard and Reserve employees. As the 1.3 million members of the National Guard and Reserve continue to perform an increasing number of unique missions that require extraordinary actions on the part of everyday citizens, ESGR will continue to be the informational agency for the employers of citizen warriors. More information about ESGR Employer Outreach Programs and volunteer opportunities is available at www.esgr.mil, or by calling Butch Wise, Executive Director of the Arizona ESGR Office, at 602-323-4183.