Federal employees unable to attend Illinois River conference

By Marshanna Hester

October 1, 2013 Updated Oct 2, 2013 at 10:02 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Thirty hotel rooms were not occupied in Peoria Tuesday night because the federal employees who reserved them are now furloughed.

Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Geological Survey were scheduled to attend an Illinois River conference held at the Four Points by Sheraton.

However, their presentations will not be heard because of the shutdown.

Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon said Congress must find a way to work together to get the job done.

It is a lesson she said Illinois elected officials could use when it comes to pension reform.

"We need to look at this problem. We need to look at it not just in the short term, but long run. What is the 10-year outlook, 30-year outlook?" Simon said. "That's what's been missing from the pension discussion for too many years. If we take on that responsibility, I think we'll help push our state in a more positive direction."

Simon said a member of the pension reform committee told her progress is being made on a solution, just not as quickly as he would like.

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