Orange workers still missing pay (new computer software system) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Orange workers still missing pay

Mike Berry of The Sentinel Staff

Published in The Orlando Sentinel on September 26, 1999.

Seven weeks into the school year, some Orange County school district employees still are having problems getting paid under a new computer software system.

The school district originally played down the problem. But it has persisted for so long that the heads of two unions plan to address the School Board about it Tuesday night.

Bill Humphreys, head of the union that represents teachers' aides, bus drivers and other nonteacher positions, said many employees have been either paid late or underpaid since the system went into place July 1.

Humphreys said he doesn't doubt the district has been working to correct the problem.

But, he said, "We're two months into the school year. You would hope it would be fixed by now. It's really frustrating for our folks."

"We have a number of people who live paycheck to paycheck. It really hits my people hard," he said.

Most of the problems appear to involve employees hired after July 1, he said.

Art Johnson, president of the Orange County teachers union, also has asked to address the School Board on Tuesday.

"We need to get it fixed, and we need to get it fixed now," Johnson said.

School district officials blamed the problem on glitches in the new system and the complexity of running it.

"We've jumped five generations in technology," said school district spokesman Joe Mittiga of the new $10.5 million system, designed to improve efficiency and be Y2K compliant.

"All things considered, the training was perhaps not as good as it should have been, and the system is not as user-friendly as it ought to be," Mittiga said.

Neither the school district nor the union had an estimate of how many employees have been affected.

Linda Fenty, a technology consultant for the district, said each payroll has resulted in fewer problems, and that during the last payroll, fewer than 20 teachers were paid late.

Employees also have complained that the new pay stubs are hard to understand, especially if they were paid for separate jobs in one check. Fenty said the district was working with the makers of the software on that issue.

[Posted 09/25/1999 11:21 PM EST]

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-- Homer Beanfang (, September 27, 1999


But it only takes 2 or 3 hours to fix! At the very most 2 or 3 days! They'll get it all done right over the weekend!~

Willing to work for free in 2000?

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, September 27, 1999.

My son is having the opposite problem, he works for Burlington-Northern Railroad and he and his coworkers were all overpaid $200.00 each. Now he has to set money aside because he will be shorted $200.00 on his next paycheck. It was a computer glitch.....

-- bardou (, September 27, 1999.


You could hardly argue Hoffmeister's position more cogently, for which I thank you. Here we have a "new computer software system" (first paragraph) which still isn't working correctly. This is NOT a y2k bug per se, this is an implementation issue. And why the new implementation? The story says it's "to improve efficiency and be Y2K compliant". Imagine that.

You will also recall that Hoffmeister argued that implementation issues are MUCH harder to resolve than actual date bug fixes. And sure enough, that's what we're seeing. However, "each payroll has resulted in fewer problems" as these difficult problems are slowly worked out. They really are suffering more serious problems TODAY from y2k-compliant implementations than they will later when they suffer NO date bugs (hopefully) from the fully-implemented and compliant systems.

As expected, we're seeing a LOT of this sort of thing. And it's all good news. The big y2k problems are being time-shifted to the present. Your attempt at sarcasm, based on a totally different TYPE of problem, misses the mark. Actual DATE bugs (like lookahead errors) actually HAVE been fixed quickly, which is why FY and JAE problems never became an issue.

So go ahead and keep barking, but try picking the right tree next time, OK?

-- Flint (, September 27, 1999.


OT will you please just crawl back into your hole?

-- Billy-Boy (, September 27, 1999.

Billy-Boy, you said:

"Flint OT will you please just crawl back into your hole?"

So, just exactly what is on-topic for you, anyway? A direct post detailing how Flint believes that this is not directly a Y2K issue and based on the specific example presented in that post is "off-topic?"


-- Paul Neuhardt (, September 27, 1999.

Ooops. Missed the bold-off.

-- Paul Neuhardt (, September 27, 1999.


See, it really is possible to scroll directly to my name and respond to that without reading the contents. thinkIcan should be heartened!

But my point was that this IS a y2k problem in a very important sense. And those anticipating a huge spike in problems after rollover are missing this sense.

-- Flint (, September 27, 1999.

Flint may have it right in one sense but I don't find it reassuring because of the simultanaety (sp?) issue. What happens when, say, ten or twenty percent of workers can't get paid for weeks, whether the fault is the software or the banks? It's like the difference between car trouble and airplane trouble: you can stop the car to fix it.

The Orange teachers will get their money, but economic and social consequences will be playing out for a long time. The teachers could get p.o'd enough to strike, for instance.

Our society is held together by a series of assumptions, one of which is that we will be paid on time. When these assumptions are undermined, things get ugly. An example from my own experience:

Some twenty odd years ago, I lived as a student in the Murray Hill Italian section of Cleveland. The main GM plant in CLeveland shut its doors one day and laid off a huge work force, I can't recall exactly but the figure 7,000 jobs sticks in my mind. Suddenly, more than half the workers in the neighborhood found themselves unemployed, including old timers on the verge of retirement, pensions and retirements were gone. The economic heart of the area was ripped out, and over the last two decades the neighborhood mostly faded away.

The GM people had the bad timing to announce the layoffs right before the Feast of the Ascension, an annual street festival. Alcohol flowed freely, and the mood was sullen.

Enter little ol' me, a kid from North Carolina. I had been visiting home, and had no idea what had happened. I was trying to drive up to my apartment through the street crowds, in the only car I could afford, a beat-up old Volvo. In those days import cars were kicking American butt. Sevweral Toyotas had been burned and smashed, and the occupants beaten by the crowds, of which I knew nothing. About a block from my apartment my wife and I found ourselves trapped in the car, with an angry crowd of drunks screaming in Italian attempting to turn it over with us inside. They smashed out a couple of windows, and began rocking the car almost on its side. I couldn't have tried to drive away without running over one of our tormentors, then we would have died for sure. We were convinced it was over for us, when quite literally the cavalry arrived in the form of Cleveland police officers on horse back. (People will stand in front of a car, but not in front of a large horse. Psychlogical?) It took half an hour but they finally got us out. I still think they saved our lives. Then they chewed us out royally for being stupid Southern hicks and driving a foreign car, they were not inpresseed that we didn't know what had happened.

This tale is unusual, for sure, but it taught me what can happen when a crowd gets angry and out of control, when they have been betrayed by what they though they could trust. If enough people suffer these kinds of traumas for long enough after the rollover, martial law is a certainty in some areas. One system,, one buisness can take a hit and then fix it, but even small disrutions in great enough number, will have the cumulative effect of demonstrating once again how thin the veneer of civilization really is.

-- Forrest Covington (, September 27, 1999.


Yes, people can get ugly. Most of the time, it's because they think they are being singled out for special bad treatment in some way. Hopefully y2k will be spread around randomly enough for people in general to be more resigned than angry. It's a very impersonal problem.

And my point here, again, is that we are trying to implement systems today that are compliant, so we suffer all the slings and arrows of implementations (and there are many) now, and cruise through rollover with compliant systems (that we went through hell to get installed and working properly). No, of course that's not universally true, and I've written at length about direct date bugs and indirect problems trying to *avoid* date bugs. The bug-avoidence problems should have been happening all along, so that the date-bug problems will be vastly reduced and WON'T be simultaneous with remediation issues.

There are many indications we've been successful, but these are neither airtight nor universal -- there is sand in the vaseline.

-- Flint (, September 27, 1999.

Flint, you and your ilk will be held in significant part responsible for the deaths of millions. Think of being on the losing side at the Nuremberg trials after WWII, when Ceausescu was overthrown in Rumania, or Mussolini was overthrown in Italy. The revulsion against what your sort consciously, knowingly, intentionally did about Y2K awareness (especially when it gets out that {for example} YOU had nontrivial preps, unlike the innocent people who believed your more positve assessments about the likely societal effects of Y2K) before 2000 will make that expressed about the architects of the Holocaust look mild. They ran to South America from Europe. You will probably have to go farther; got your secret place in Antarctica picked out (and provisioned) to spend the rest of your life? (There won't be an Odessa to help you escape, though.) For the readers of Frank Herbert, Flint et al are "Gowachin guilty". For students of medieval history, they will likely be classified as "wolvesheads".

-- MinnesotaSmith (, September 27, 1999.


I'm persuaded that if you were an insurance salesman, you'd sell fire insurance by showing people graphic photos of charred bodies, and tell them "This is YOUR child if you don't buy this insurance!"

The question is, would you really believe that anyone who used any lesser means really WAS guilty of charring babies? Since you post your sales-pitch website with every post you make, permit me to doubt your sincerity just a bit.

-- Flint (, September 27, 1999.

C'mon, Flint, give'em a break.

Just trying to "scare" up some business.

-- Hoffmeister (, September 27, 1999.


Sorry. I got a bit confused when you described the issues as "NOT a y2k bug per se." However, I see and agree with your point.

While I have your attention here, tell me something. I used to get messages from Milne et. al. giving me the same "you will kill millions by downplaying Y2K" schtick that you just got. Do you have the same problem with that concept that I do, namely "I can't seem to influence the behaviour of my wife and two kids half the time, so how in the hell am I directing millions of people (the VAST majority of whom have no clue as to my existence) off the proverbial cliff?" It jsut strikes me as a real disconnect. (It aloso strikes me as funny everytime I see it, but that's a different subject altogether.)

-- Paul Neuhardt (, September 28, 1999.

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