I have questions about the Rendon Group?

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If the Rendon Group has been hired to publicize the Y2K Community Conversations campaign, wouldn't that be paid from public money?

Here's what I want to know:
What is their stated purpose with respect to Y2K Community Conversations? That is, what outcomes are they being paid to evoke?

Have they been successful thus far? That is, are the desired outcomes being realized?

How much are they being paid? That would be in the public domain, would it not?

Who authorized the payment?


-Transparency - Love it or leave it.

-- Critt Jarvis (middleground@critt.com), July 15, 1999


Excellent questions, Critt. If only there were time to ascertain the answers, and if only this set of answers was the magical one that finally transparentized this whole, tragic mess.

But the posing of the questions is worthwhile in itself, whether they can be answered or not. Those who have only recently begun their research need to know that a well orchestrated campaign exists to shape our perceptions. The allure of the concept of consequences no worse than economic recession is powerfully compelling; we so deeply want that to be the case. We all need common sense injections now and then so that we can more dispassionately look at the facts, and the signs, and the analyses. These questions remind us to pay attention to the background music. If you find yourself semi- consciously humming the lyrics, clear your head and think about things like the questions Critt raises here.

-- Faith Weaver (suzsolutions@yahoo.com), July 17, 1999.


Meeting Minutes December 16, 1998


John Koskinen, Assistant to the President and Chair of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion Council, opened the meeting at 205p.m. in Meeting Room E of the Federal Reserve Building, 20th and C Streets, NW, Washington, DC.


Update on Efforts to Promote Information-Sharing

The Chair noted the importance of encouraging industry associations to organize and report, particularly via the Internet, technical information from their members about how to solve the Year 2000 (Y2K) computer problem. By sharing this vital information across company lines, the associations will serve their members and, in turn, the American people. Council members are asked to promote information sharing through the Working Groups and their partner umbrella organizations. The Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act was designed to encourage the disclosure and exchange of information about the Y2K computer problem. It provides protection against the use in any civil litigation of technical Y2K information about an organizations experiences with product compliance, system fixes,testing protocols, and testing results, when that information is disclosed in good faith. In particular, the Act opens doors to information sharing via the Internet. A guide for Web-based information sharing is available on the Council's Web site at http://www.y2k.gov/new/share.htm.

Overview of Year-end Quarterly Report to the President

The Chair discussed efforts to develop the first summary of industry assessments, to be released to the public at the end of the year. He emphasized the importance of maintaining an organized process for gathering information about industry's Y2K readiness, and noted that both Congress and the public are waiting to review the results. Survey results from particular sectors will continue to be released as soon as they are available.

The Chair announced that the Financial Management Service (FMS) will soon receive independent verification on the Year 2000 compliance of its Social Security payment systems. A Presidential event is being scheduled to announce these accomplishments.

Update on Senior Advisors Group

The first meeting of the Senior Advisors Group is scheduled for January 21, 1999. The Chair noted the confirmed members, to date. He urged that candidates be identified for the following sectors Banks/Financial, Chemicals, Health Care, Oil Gas, Pharmaceuticals, Postal Service, Retail, State and Local Governments, Telecommunications, Water Utilities, and Waste Management.

A discussion followed about the roles of the Senior Advisors Group. The Chair said that members will offer perspectives on cross-cutting issues, information sharing, and appropriate responses to potential Y2K failures. At the first meeting, the group will prioritize the key issues to be addressed during 1999. The discussion will focus on strategies for preventing possible public overreaction, the status of industry-wide contingency plans and emergency response mechanisms, and the best methods of coordinating those plans with the Federal Government's contingency planning efforts.

News about Toll-free Information Line

Testing of a toll-free telephone number (1-888-USA4Y2K) for consumer Y2K inquiries is under way. Elaine Kolish, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), reported that nine operators have been assigned to the line. Council members are asked to provide additional information for the Web site as needed to prepare and update responses to consumer inquiries. The toll-free information line will be announced to the public in January 1999.

Highlights of Outreach to State, Local, and Tribal Governments

The National Association of Counties (NACO) has agreed to conduct a Y2K survey. In addition, a new Working Group, led by the Department of Interior, has been established to address tribal government issues. Mickey Ibarra, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, reported that the Council is also working with the National League of Cities, National Association of State Information Resource Executives (NASIRE), and National Governors Association.

Notice of Soon-to-be-released OMB Reporting Guidance

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has updated its quarterly reporting guidance to include agency reports on the state administration of Federal programs e.g., unemployment insurance, food stamps, by state. Clay Hollister, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), expressed concern about how states will respond to multiple sets of questions. The Chair replied that state programmatic offices will probably field the Federal questions. He observed that states, like the Federal Government, administer programs from different departments and the status of Y2K progress likely varies by department.

Anne Reed, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), asked about the status of coordinating Federal and state testing requirements. She recalled discussions about establishing a basic set of independent verification and validation (IVV) standards at the Federal level. It is possible that multiple federal agencies will ask the states for certification. Kathy Adams, Social Security Administration, suggested identifying key services and developing focused tests. She noted that different states have different statewide testing requirements. To facilitate coordination, the Chair asked the Council members to notify Kathy Adams of the federal agencies that have state certification requirements.

Update on Federal Holiday Task Force

The Federal Holiday Task Force, led by Stephen Malphrus, Federal Reserve, is weighing the pros and cons of adding a federal holiday at the end of 1999 and the beginning of year 2000. Council members are invited to submit ideas for review by the task force. In addition, they should notify the task force of issues or agency programs that could be affected by implementing an alternative holiday strategy. For example, any plans for early distribution of funds must consider the potential cost in loss of interest as well as the tax repercussions for recipients. It was also noted that some industries e.g., oil and gas deplete inventories at year-end for tax reasons, which may not be advisable in 1999.

Stephen Malphrus reported that the task force has written a paper that clarifies the definition of holiday e.g., permissive and non- permissive and outlines the basic issues associated with moving the holiday. Council members interested in working with the task force should review the background paper. Three meetings are planned to develop the task force recommendations. A final report will be presented to the Chair by February.

Legislative Matters

The Chair noted the importance of reviewing agency statutory limitations. He said that Congress must be advised as soon as possible if legislation is needed to implement a recommended action.

Hardware/Software Delays

The Chair highlighted the need to monitor hardware and software orders associated with Y2K requirements. He said that agencies should identify whether deadlines will be missed due to vendor delay. Some Council members noted problems receiving Y2K-compliant Microsoft and Oracle products. They said that products may be advertised as compliant with issues, and patches are slow to arrive. The testing challenge is whether to retest as each patch arrives or wait until all issues are resolved. Anne Reed reported that USDA has experienced some delays due to slippage in vendor delivery dates. As the January 1, 2000, deadline approaches, any slippage will become a major impediment.

Crisis Management

The Chair discussed the development of a coordinating function for crisis management. The general theory is to build upon the Federal Government's existing crisis management network. The Council will work with the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office to develop a proposal, which will be shared with the Council members and, eventually, the public. Jeffrey Hunker, Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office, noted the importance of industry involvement. The Chair replied that plans include working with the Senior Advisors Group to develop private-sector cooperation and acceptance. He emphasized that the public must feel comfortable with the Government's ability to respond to Y2K problems. They must know the facts and understand that the Government, building on its existing experience e.g., disaster relief and structure, is organized and ready to respond, if needed.


The Chair reported that National Y2K Coordinators from more than 120 Member States met at the UN in New York on December 11, 1998. The participants exchanged views about addressing the Y2K problem in their respective countries and regions, as well as at the international level. They agreed to work on a regional basis to address cross-border issues. They also agreed to establish an international mechanism to coordinate six geographic regional activities.

The Chair noted particular concern about the shipping industry's Y2K progress. He said that immediate attention is required to ensure the continued ability to bring oil into the United States. The Department of Transportation and the Coast Guard are urging the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to assemble the key players e.g.,International Association of Port Authorities, in January to develop an international plan. Katie Hirning, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), expressed interest in participating in the effort.

A discussion followed about how and where to set up the international coordinating mechanism envisioned at the UN Meeting. The Chair suggested a dedicated, core staff of four to five members. Roles and responsibilities would include tracking regional activities, coordinating with sectors, helping countries with contingency planning, and operating an information clearinghouse. One option is to create a virtual coordinating function that allows participants to communicate from multiple locations. Another option involves choosing a single location to house the operation. Several Council members recommended New York City, noting proximity to the UN office as an advantage. Gene Dodaro, General Accounting Office (GAO), suggested designating a point-of-contact in each geographic region who would interface with the international group. Likewise, the Chair suggested identifying a Council point-of-contact with experience in handling international issues.

Bill Curtis, Department of Defense (DOD), noted that he attended the UN meeting and thought it was a tremendous success. It significantly raised the awareness of Y2K among small, developing countries. Some Council members expressed concern about waiting until June 1999 for another international meeting. The Chair urged the members to contact him about international issues in specific countries.

The Chair noted recent meetings with Mexico and Canada about cross- border issues. He said that Canada wants to match senior executives from Canada and the United States to discuss specific sector issues. Council members are asked to review the list of sectors, provided by Canada, and identify appropriate points-of-contact. Bill Curtis asked how agencies, especially Tier One, should set priorities in international outreach efforts. The Chair recommended focusing on where problems are likely to occur. Internationally, the areas of greatest concern are oil, maritime shipping and nuclear power. Domestically, the biggest problem is expected to be public overreaction. Stockpiling items, such as cash, food, and medicine, could create economic problems. While large-scale failures are not anticipated, small- to mid-size failures could occur and cause panic. Unfortunately, predicting which communities will experience problems is not possible.

Stephen Malphrus observed that verification will be an issue as Y2K failures occur. In times of uncertainty, the opportunity for fraud exists. The Council discussed that fact that confirming communications will be important. The Chair agreed, noting that it will be difficult to determine if failures are the result of Y2K problems or cyber attacks. Shereen Remez, General Services Administration (GSA), commented that Y2K will be a 1999 problem, because of media coverage. A discussion followed about ways to work with the media. The Chair said that he met with a public relations/advertising firm, which recommended launching a Y2K media campaign. The firm advised surveying the population to determine the audience, the message, and the method of delivery. These services are not inexpensive. The concern is whether money spent on advertising would be better spent elsewhere. Elaine Kolish noted that the U.S. Consumer Gateway Web site and information line track questions by zip code and area code. This data could be used in lieu of conducting population surveys to develop targeted outreach. Shereen Remez observed that airtime is a large cost associated with media campaigns and suggested asking the media to donate airtime to the Y2K cause. She noted that the Consumer Information Center currently receives a significant amount of free airtime. Richard Weirich, U.S. Postal Service (USPS), suggested creating media events that demonstrate community cooperation as a way to capture free airtime, portray positive images, and build public confidence. Marsha MacBride, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), suggested spending money to monitor Y2K progress and public reaction.

Kathy Adams noted the importance of educating the press to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. She suggested establishing a media advisory group that would work with the Y2K Council. It was noted that some news is better than no news. Consumers need to be assured that the Government is working on the Y2K problem. People will assume that silence means bad news. Anne Reed noted the abundance of negative media coverage. She said the USDA's most frequently asked question is how many cans of food should I store. Leigh Shein, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), recommended encouraging community discussions that involve residents and local industry representatives. The Chair cautioned that media campaigns must not oversell Y2K. Creating expectations that the Federal Government can ensure success is a problem. He noted that countries and companies that have no contingency plan pose the greatest risk. Those that are just now discovering Y2K problems have little time to prepare and those that believe they have implemented Y2K fixes have little time to test them and discover problems. Stephen Malphrus asked about the availability of a Y2K information kit, and Anne Reed replied that kits are available in County Extension Offices, located in each county of the United States.


The Chair discussed efforts to gather and store information about international Y2K activities. He noted that Council members will need to assess the reliability of the information as it is collected. Using the United States Information Agency (USIA) international database is an option, however, password assignments are required for access. Policy issues concerning what will be done with the data still need to be resolved.


The Chair announced that the regulatory implications of Y2K will be a topic of discussion at the next Council meeting. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will share lessons learned. Prior to the meeting, Council members are asked to develop and deliver a one-page paper that discusses the challenges and issues associated with regulatory enforcement. For example, what should be done if a system that is required by regulation fails due to Y2K problems? The Chair noted that regulations are designed to ensure public safety. Unsafe systems present a serious issue.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.


-- (for@critt.j), July 17, 1999.

Compare whats above with the public version of the same minutes at


While your there, try your luck at


or if you're brave, http://www.rendon.com/y2k/

pleasant dreams...

-- (for@Critt.Also), July 18, 1999.

Anonymous poster,

Yes, there certainly is a difference between the minutes posted at Ted Derryberry's website and those posted at the .gov page. Do you know where Ted acquired his minutes?

Also, as you probably know, all the links at the y2k.gov site are either behind a firewall or are password protected. The rendon.com y2k page is also password protected. If you have access to these sites, perhaps you could share with us what is relevant in response to Critt's questions.

As an aside, it is noted that you have the same grammatical affect as one of TB2000's newer trolls...that is the lack of contraction for "you're". No relation, are you?

Pleasant dreams, indeed...

-- RUOK (RUOK@yesiam.com), July 18, 1999.

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