If local government officials can not manage simple projects competently, how can they be expected to manage difficult complex problems such as solving Y2k issues? I live in a State Capitol in a big population Southeastern State that recently had a fiasco with laptop computers in

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police cars. The city paid $1,500,000 for 121 laptops (over $12,000 each and has now decided that they are used mainly to hold the coffee cups for the cops in the cars. The screens are hard to read, the keyboard is hard to use and the policemen are still not able to contact the Department of Law Enforcement main computer to get a criminal history on suspects partially due to a shortage of lines to the main computer. This was the reason why this system was acquired. After a year, the computers still can not get through to the on line crime information Center and the units still have not been hooked up to the report writing program. The current plan is to recycle these for parking ticket enforcement, recreation department employees and other uses requiring this high technology. Obviously they were purchased with no field trials to see if they were suitable.

This is only the latest example of incompetence by city officials. Others include an inability for city police and sheriffs Department deputies to contact each other by radio in a relative small county with only one major city in the county, (This has been worked on during the last 15 years and may happen this year with the installation of a new $12,000,000 radio system,) the construction of a new Courthouse where someone forgot to include telephone lines in the plans for the building, the advertising and awarding of a contract to construct a road before the right-of-way had been acquired with a $2,000,000 payoff to the contractors for delays incurred, attempts to stop a major arterial by members of the city commission where the road was committed as a condition to the permits for a major shopping center that was built about 15 years ago, acquisition of downtown land contaminated by a drycleaner at a huge expense to the taxpayers for a hotel that is still not even started, and issuing a contract to a consultant to appraise the municapally owned utility instead of worrying about whether or not it would be able to produce electricity and safe water. They then fixed the billing system by a windowing system that only delays the problem. I hope that this group is aware of the embedded system issues. Also, where was the State Public Service Commission? Should it not be concerned about the electric power supply to the State Capitol? It may have woke up this year after it was too late. This city utility was rated 25% completed with remediation by the PSC.

The point of this essay is that if local officals can not competently handle simple tasks such as those described above, how can they be expected to competently handle complex issues such as the types of remediation needed to assure continued electric power and water, and will they understand the necessity to spend the money required to fix these problems in the Capital City of a major state? How can the State Government be expected to function with unreliable electricity? The newly elected Governor has announced that the State is 99 per cent completed with remediation. Shame on him. Either he is uninformed, his people are lying to him, or he is putting a good face on a bad situation. Think about it. Are there similar fiascos in your local government? If there are, a higher level of preparation is essential. If your local officials have avoided similar fiascos, there is hope that they may be able to manage the Y2k problems with a minimum of adverse impacts. The post about ten messages below this one about the problems in Atlanta by Paul Milne indicate that there will also be major problems in Atlanta too. This post is not talking about Atlanta. If local officials do not have enough sense to solve the simple problems like testing a computer, installing enough lines to the main computer, buying right of way before awarding a contract to build a road, how can we expect them to competently solve a problem like Y2k when even the experts do not agree on the potential impacts? It does not look good for any major cities over 100,000 people unless they have competent local officials. How many do? How many do not?

-- Tom (Notstupid@wow.gom), May 18, 1999



Please contact me at critt@critt.com

It's more common than you might think...



-- Critt Jarvis (publicsafety@critt.com), May 19, 1999.

Tom, please email me. I'd like to know a little more. I am also concerned about the organization run by the guy on N. Adams Street as well as the folks on 7th Avenue.

-- reed moore (reed_moore@postmaster.co.uk), May 19, 1999.

Thanks for sharing Tom,

There are city stumble bums everywhere. And conversely, those who care and take pride in their work. A city's readiness may well depend on if it has Y2K champions ... or not.

Another indicator.

It's all local, when you get right down to it.



-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), May 19, 1999.

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