THE 99 GLITCH HITS THE SENATE !!!!!greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
IT HAS FINALLY SURFACED!! - Y2K HITS THE SENATE NOW they will feel what it's like to have to put up with bureaucaracy and how it can screw up people's lives and how the ordinary person tries to make ends meet. This will give them a dose of reality of taking citizens for granted - this is just a taste though they should get used to it , this is just the BEGINNING !!
Senate Isn't Paying Bills onTime
Rent Checks Running Weeks Behind Schedule
By Norah M. O'Donnell
Top Senate officials are grappling with a glitch in its multimillion-dollar Y2K computer project, which has temporarily plunged individual Senate offices into fiscal chaos.
Office managers throughout the Senate have grown furious as overdue vendor bills have piled up for state office rents, credit cards, staffers' travel reimbursements, cellular phones and pagers.
Facing eviction from their state offices last week, some Senate aides demanded immediate action from the disbursement office.
Tim Wineman, the financial clerk of the Senate, said that rent checks for December were mailed this week and he promised that January checks would be finished before the end of the month.
"We are very concerned about anything that could embarrass a Member of the Senate," said Wineman, a 28-year veteran of the disbursement office. Wineman stressed that his office was working "double time."
Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) said he approached Secretary of the Senate Gary Sisco, whose office oversees disbursements, last week to express alarm about unpaid bills and staff reimbursements.
Allard said, "Upon learning of my concerns, Mr. Sisco informed me that he has taken immediate steps to rectify the problem, and I have every confidence that he will do so."
In a sign of the urgency of the problem, Sisco left Friday morning's historic meeting of all 100 Senators in the Old Senate Chamber about the impeachment trial in order to conduct an interview about the financial problems.
"The way I look at it, there are no excuses," Sisco told Roll Call. "There have been additional resources and staff overtime devoted to correcting these problems. The [disbursement office] is under a tremendous workload in an attempt to maintain current deadlines and to implement a system that is Y2K compliant."
Sisco said he considers these "routine problems associated with conversion of a system."
Privately, however, Senate aides offered much harsher assessments of the problem.
"This is an issue of embarrassment to the Senators," said one concerned office manager who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The issue of delay of payments came to a head last week when office managers began e-mailing one another with concerns about second notices on late rent, that individual staffers were financially strapped because of unpaid travel expenses and offices were incurring late charges from vendors.
"I spend at least two hours on the phone with unhappy vendors each day," said one Senate office manager. "Reimbursement checks are running six to 10 weeks late and no one is able to explain why it is taking so long to get stuff paid."
A major Y2K project is underway within the Office of the Secretary of the Senate to implement the new Financial Management Information System, which has been budgeted $7 million to complete the venture. The Senate has been aided by KPMG Peat Marwick and James Martin Government Consulting.
The new computer system began operating on Oct. 19, 1998, and Wineman said there has been a backlog in payments due to "growing pains" naturally associated with a major overhaul of a system that is responsible for paying the Senate's bills.
"Our goal in the future is to get these bills paid within two to three weeks," said Wineman. "If we were not going through this now we would be going through this a week before the year 2000 and then there would be a meltdown."
He added, "We are working in the best interests of the Senate and everybody knows this is a huge undertaking. Nobody is happy where there are bills unpaid but the backlog will be caught up."
But Wineman insisted that staffers should be patient and that they would address any issues concerning late charges.
"We are working through a major accounting change throughout the Senate," he said. "Has this caused some hardship? Yes, it has. And we are trying to react to that as quickly as possible. But the statement that we are not paying bills is incorrect."
"We need to give them some space to work out the kinks," added one office manager. "This is a massive conversion and they are paying the bills."
But the manager did add somberly, "My concern is for the institution of the Senate."
Sources said the Senate committees and their staffers "are having a harder time" than individual Senate offices in receiving staff reimbursements and payments to vendors like court recorders.
One Senate aide estimated that unpaid expenses amounted to at least $20,000 for that particular office, which included mostly travel expenses for state employees.
"Some staffers are owed thousands and thousands of dollars and have waited two months for a check," one manager said. "They have spent millions and millions of dollars on this project and it is not working."
Sisco said that if there is a "systematic problem, it will be corrected."
"Senator Allard brought this to me last week that we are behind," Sisco said. "I have directed Tim to get the bills current. It is his responsibility as financial clerk."
But Sisco stressed that Wineman is not in trouble. "Nobody's job is on the line," he said.
Sisco added that the "disbursement office does a great job."
Allard's press secretary, Sean Conway, said, "The Senate as an institution has a reputation and that is at stake here."
Conway said Allard has been assured that vendors and staffers will be paid, though it will not happen overnight.
"We have been told the problem would be remedied," he said. "Our indication is that this will be cleared up in a month."
-- sean (email@example.com), January 11, 1999
Link Link Link Link Give us the LINK Sean!!
The Senate SHTF?
xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
-- Leska (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 11, 1999.
Thanks, Sean! Giggle....
-- Lisa (email@example.com), January 11, 1999.
I was just attempting my first hotlink on this matter (thanks for the tutorial Hardliner, especially if it works on my first try!) So do you think if moral decency and responsibility doesn't work, that personal embarrassment will??
Senat e Y2K Program
-- Brooks (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 11, 1999.
Here is a hot link:
Senat e Isn't Paying Bills on Time
I am sure that we will be seeing more examples, as places attempt to solve their Y2K systems by ramrodding a new (but Y2K compliant) system into place pre-maturely.
-- Jack (email@example.com), January 11, 1999.
Let me see if I understand this: a Y2K-remediated critical system which supports the US Senate (which has been holding hearings and issuing reports cards on Federal government Y2K compliance) isn't really handling the workload for which it was designed, and a number of folks are getting hurt. Laugh? I thought I'd cry!
Note that the senior exec (Secretary of the Senate Sisco) had to informed of the problem by a customer (Senator Allard); prior to being so informed (I suspect at a pretty high volume level), Sisco had no idea there was a problem. Senator Allard lit him up and Secretary Sisco promised he'd fix it and then probably made it rain on the project team, including Mr. Wineman (who may or may not be the project manager.)
This is how it works, friends. As with the rest of the project team, unless senior management is doing its job properly (e.g., holding good and sufficent project reviews, providing resources and "covering fire" for the project, asking the right questions about issues, etc.), projects end up delivering systems that cost too much, miss their milestones/deadlines, and/or don't meet customer's needs. And people wonder why we're concerned about Y2K projects...
Final quote, from poor ol' Tim Wineman: "If we were not going through this now we would be going through this a week before the year 2000 and then there would be a meltdown." Got to choose your words more carefully, Tim. Folks might get the idea that there's a serious problem...
-- Mac (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 11, 1999.
whatta hoot! hey maybe Koskinnen should offer all of these staffers a personal appology...after all this sort of thing isn't supposed to happen, is it?
-- Arlin H. Adams (email@example.com), January 11, 1999.
well... Roll Call, huh? Y2k is a political reality now and all bets are off.
-- Michael Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 11, 1999.
Maybe the hot air coming from this distinguished body of pinheads should be harnessed to offset any brownouts next winter...
-- guess who's (email@example.com), January 11, 1999.
Meaning the Senate, of course...
-- guess who's (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 11, 1999.
And KPMG is staffing this - but there won't be any financial problems in local businesses or Wall Street when quarterly reports and fiscal end-of-year reports and taxes fail.......
Its starting! - Do ya think the next time we talk about Y2K a few more staffers will listen?
Print this, keep it handy. A problem isn't real until it hits somebody in the pocketbook.
-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (email@example.com), January 11, 1999.
Now multiply this fiasco by a few million = Y2K.
-- Steve Hartsman (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 11, 1999.
This link is for the "5thscoop.html" but the y2k story has rolled of the list of scoops. What is the current link?
-- Jon (email@example.com), January 18, 1999.