Colorado lawmakers assail Y2K chip readiness : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Committee members agreed to support $242,699 of the request to bail out the Corrections, Public Health and Environment and Regulatory agencies with their embedded chip needs.


Lawmakers assail Y2K chip readiness

By John Sanko

Denver Rocky Mountain News Capitol Bureau


Colorado lawmakers were fuming Tuesday because some state agencies still aren't facing up to the Year 2000 problem -- not with their computers but with embedded chips.

"This is ridiculous," said Sen. Dottie Wham, R-Denver. "Somebody should have realized 2000 was on its way."

"I think we're at a point of no return already," said Rep. Mark Larson, R-Cortez.

The anger came as members of the Capital Development Committee heard a request for $521,999 in supplemental funds to deal with the embedded chip problems.

The chips are in everything from elevator systems to coffee makers and cars -- and experts are concerned that some folks may wake up on the first day of the new year to discover that some things aren't working.

Brian Mouty, who heads Colorado's program to deal with the Year 2000 problem, and Mike Trevithick of the Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting, blamed part of the problem on the administration of Gov. Roy Romer.

Mouty was picked a couple of years ago to lead the state's effort to prepare for the Y2K problem, as it is called. He says he was told that every department should handle its own embedded chips problem.

"That sounds foolish to me," Wham said. "It sounds like the doctor who treated the left nostril. This is ridiculous."

The split-system changed this year when Gov. Bill Owens combined the two projects. Mouty quickly found that some state agencies hadn't taken the problem seriously enough.

That's why, he said, he was asking for supplemental funds. He said he felt some agencies were overly optimistic that problems were under control.

"I do know where we stand today," Mouty said. "I do have a good idea there are some areas within departments that I do not feel comfortable with and that's where I need to spend and focus my time."

Committee members agreed to support $242,699 of the request to bail out the Corrections, Public Health and Environment and Regulatory agencies with their embedded chip needs. That would come out of a controlled maintenance fund.

Then they voted 5-1 to approve another $279,300 for the Embedded Systems Office to contract with an outside firm, CIBER, for consulting work. They said that money would have to come from a Department of Transportation capital construction appropriation -- with the approval of the Joint Budget Committee.

That didn't leave Wham very happy. She noted that over the past two years, Colorado would have spent $579,000 to oversee about $2 million spent on the embedded chip problem.

After the hearing, Mouty said the state actually had spent more on embedded chips, but no one knows exactly how much because every department has done its own corrections.

He said he was most concerned with two agencies -- Natural Resources and Human Services and Development.

As far as the bigger Y2K computer problem, on which the state has spent $37 million, Mouty said he's "pretty confident" that nearly all of the critical systems were in good shape for the new year.

August 25, 1999

-- (just@helping.out), August 29, 1999


If you want to get a good idea how well your state is preparing for y2k, try dealing with the Dept.of Motor Vehicles. Since they have had to deal with date questions for awhile now, to keep the revenue coming, I would guess that if they have it together there it increases confidence somewhat.

-- Forrest Covington (, August 29, 1999.

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