Bennett fears local governments in U.S. will be bitten by Y2K buggreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Saturday, July 17, 1999
Bennett fears local governments in U.S. will be bitten by Y2K bug
Utahn worries about disruptions in key services
By Lee Davidson
Deseret News Washington correspondent
WASHINGTON Sen. Bob Bennett said he has "grave concerns" that most of the nation's states, counties and cities are still unprepared to handle the year 2000 computer bug and only 169 days remain until it may emerge on Jan. 1.
"Some are ready right now, but many most are not," Bennett said Thursday at a hearing of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, of which he is chairman.
The Utah Republican worries about disruptions to traffic lights, law enforcement, water supplies, fire protection and other key services that state and local governments control.
He said his committee is receiving reports that many of those local governments and other key businesses and utilities plan to be ready on time. But most concede they are not there yet, and much work remains with little time available.
For example, he said a survey by the National Association of Counties reported "that only 27 percent of the more than 3,000 counties it represents have completed Y2K testing. Apparently, more than 2,000 counties have a lot of work to do in the next 169 days."
He noted that a National League of Cities report said 90 percent of its 18,000 cities and towns will be ready by Jan 1.
"While that percentage sounds good, it really means that 10 percent 1,800 cities and towns will NOT be ready. We all hope that the city or town where we live is not among those 1,800," Bennett said.
A U.S. General Accounting Office study requested by Bennett's committee also showed that less than half of states can certify they are sufficiently Y2K compliant to run such key programs as Medicaid and federally assisted child care next year.
"I hope these statistics aren't as bad as they appear," Bennett said.
But at least one witness said they may be even worse because many governments that now claim they have fixed their local computers haven't actually tested them to ensure they will work.
Indiana State Auditor Connie Kay Nass said a report by the National State Auditors Association "found that Year 2000 compliance was overly optimistic."
She said while many states "have reported 100 percent compliance, testing, verification and validation of reprogrammed systems have yet to begin. Without comprehensive testing, there can be no assurance that systems are compliant."
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said some such testing in recent weeks shows what disasters could occur even with systems that officials thought were fixed.
"In Los Angeles on June 17, a massive sewage spill occurred during a Y2K test when monitoring equipment failed to close a gate," he said. Also, in New Berlin, Wis., residents were left with little or no water for a day because of Y2K-related problems as systems were being upgraded.
The Y2K problem occurs because older computer programs used only two digits for a four-digit year. So on Jan. 1, the resulting "00" will be interpreted as 1900 instead of 2000 making some systems crash or misinterpret information.
-- Gayla (email@example.com), July 18, 1999
Thanks Gayla, it looks like the end game has begun. For Senator Bennett to say:
"Some are ready right now, but many - most - are not," Bennett said Thursday at a hearing of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, of which he is chairman. "
Tells me they are in PANIC mode.
-- Ray (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 18, 1999.
Nah, the .gov doesn't care enough to panic. They'll just burrow further into their privileged bunks and demand first priority in the "emergency."
-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (email@example.com), July 18, 1999.
It wasn't our (the Feds) fault. Blame your local gov't for problems. Its all their fault. We warned yous guys. Think local.
The blame game has begun!
-- MarktheFart (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 18, 1999.
MarktheOdorous has a good point.
I met Senator Bennett in Salt Lake at the Soft. Tech. Conf. this year and the main thrust of his talk was "even if the Fed is ready a local problem for an individual will make Y2K REAL for that individual".
-- br14 (email@example.com), July 19, 1999.