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"State: Critical Programs Y2k Ready Officials Say The Audit Covered Only A Fraction Of The State'S Computer Programs And Should Not Be Construed As A Guarantee Of An Error-Free New Year'S Day." Source: Greensboro News & Record

"With a few exceptions, state government's most critical computer systems and software have been checked and freed of the Year 2000 programming glitch, officials said Thursday." "A report prepared by State Auditor Ralph Campbell showed that of 112 computer applications considered most crucial because they handle tasks related to public safety and welfare, only nine were not Y2K compliant as of late September."

"Fourteen other critical programs were not reviewed in time for the report; their status will be announced next month."

"Campbell presented his findings to the state legislature's Joint Select Committee on Information Technology."

"But, Campbell noted, the audit covered only a fraction of the more than 1,100 computer programs used by state government and should not be construed as a guarantee of an error-free New Year's Day."

"We believe that we have significantly improved the chances that our 'mission critical' applications are Y2K compliant," he said. "But no analysis or remediation activity can provide 100 percent assurance that any application will not experience some problems in the year 2000."

"In the last two months, workers have fixed the nine systems that were not Y2K compliant at the time of the audit, said Ilse Fogl, director of the Statewide Year 2000 Project Office. They included Department of Health and Human Services systems that track food stamps and child placement, and Commerce Department programs that handle workers' compensation claims and payments."

"Fogl said the audit, presumed to be the only effort of its type nationwide, helped catch bugs not rectified in the initial sweep."

"If you write a memo, you ask your secretary to proofread it," she said. "It looks fine to you, but that person will find a couple of typos. It's a second set of eyes."

"More than 11,000 pieces of equipment and computer software used by state-maintained operations were deemed sensitive to the Y2K bug. The problem involves older computers that recognize only the last two digits of a year and could read "00" as 1900 rather than 2000. Some people are concerned that such misinterpretation could cause computers to malfunction. A breakdown might lead to power outages, failed medical devices, air transportation delays, frozen bank accounts and other disruptions."

"Individual departments and agencies, including the UNC system, have been checking their personal computers and other electronic devices for any potential Y2K errors."

"In the end, North Carolina taxpayers might pay as much as $132.8 million to clean up the Y2K mess."

"We do believe we're in good shape," Fogl said. "I'm really not anticipating any emergencies."

"Over the next few weeks, state officials will intensify their efforts to let citizens know what they must do should they face any equipment malfunctions related to Y2K, Fogl said. No decision has been made about how to inform the public, she said."

"To answer questions, state workers will be by the phones around the clock in Raleigh during the weekend of Jan. 1, said Rick Webb, the state's chief information officer. The phone number will be announced later. "It's critical to have a central information source for citizens to know where to go," Webb said."

"But some legislators questioned how well a hotline would work based on past experience."

"When people call us, will they get a busy signal?" asked state Sen. Austin Allran, R-Catawba."

"I hope we'll have enough phone lines," Webb replied. "We're very sensitive to that."

"We know that when we give out these numbers, people call back to say it (the line) was busy," Allran said."

Publication date: Nov 19, 1999 ) 1999, NewsReal, Inc.

-- Deb M. (, November 21, 1999

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