U.S. Attorney: Shutdown 'Quite Disruptive'

Oct 1, 2013

U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis, of the Central District of Illinois, is seen in this August 2013 file photo.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

The federal government shutdown means public servants across Illinois will be sent home today.

At times like these, National Parks are considered a luxury, so Springfield's Lincoln Home National Historic Site would be closed. But air traffic control and weather forecasting are considered critical, so they'd keep going.

Public safety jobs are supposed to be exempt, too. But U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis, the top federal prosecutor for Central Illinois, says he'll have to send a quarter of his attorneys home and a majority of the support staff.

He can only keep people who are, say, in the middle of a criminal trial or a significant investigation.

"There's a lot of things going on; there's a lot of work that we're doing," Lewis says. "And this is really quite disruptive and makes it quite difficult."

Lewis says it's difficult to tell an employee, "The government respects your work, but isn't able to find a way to fund your work."