Omaha - "This Is Not A Y2K Problem" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Here we see yet another "This is not a Y2K problem" ...,,262595,00.html

Infomagic and others have previously commented on the problems that would arise by attempting to rush 'new Y2K-compliant" programs into production before January 2000. This is 'business as usual' for medium to large software projects. It is very typical for such projects to require weeks or months to 'shake out the bugs'. However, the unmoveable deadline is atypical. From my perspective, this problem should not be viewed as any sort of 'confirmation' of Infomagic's perspective or logic regarding Y2K. It should, however, be taken as just one more real, confirmed and verifiable data point. A data point here, a data point there, pretty soon we're talking real statistics.

We could argue about how to categorize this problem. But that's a non-issue at this time. As I have stated in the past, it really doesn't matter whether you categorize this as a "Y2K problem" or not. What really matters now is the timing, size, scope, and consequences of the problems that occur.

This problem is no big deal (for me). It really doesn't have any direct impact on me or my family - nor is it likely to in the future - at least not that I can see.

But consider this. Because I live in Iowa, hurricanes Fran and Hugo were no big deal either. My family and I were able to safely ignore both these hurricanes and there is little doubt that we'll be able to safely ignore this problem as well. As long as problems happen "somewhere else" to "somebody else", are we not better off to ignore it? Other than being very selfish, insensitive and short-sighted, I suppose that argument could be made.

Apparently though, for a relatively few number of people, this problem is a 'big deal'.

Infomagic paints the darkest of the dark scenarios. It is entirely up to us, however, through positive and self-reliant actions, to ensure that his horrific imaginings remain a bleak fantasy. Good intentions and a top-notch PR team will simply not be enough.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, December 10, 1999


I was up in Omaha this summer when they installed new Y2K software in the city criminal justice system. Oops! It destroyed some files which I think were ALL of the outstanding tickets and pending arrest warrents, or something rather serious like that.

The interesting thing was, and this was a big buzz on the local radio call-in program up there, the original World-Herald newspaper account mentioned that this was related to Y2K. However, on W-H's webpage the reference to Y2K had been expurgated!

-- Ken Seger (, December 10, 1999.

[fair use: for educational and research purposes only] Published Wednesday

December 08, 1999

County Examines Computer Crash



The accounting system used by Douglas County and the City of Omaha was expected to be up and working today after crashing Sunday when new Y2K-compliant applications were switched from the testing to the production mode.

Mike Carpenter, director of information services, said the problem was not related to the Y2K conversion, but to the transfer of programs and data. Carpenter had expected the computer system to be working by late Tuesday afternoon, but it wasn't.

County Clerk Tom Cavanaugh and County Treasurer Julie Haney, both primary users of the system for the county, described the problem as a crisis. They said information services did not notify their offices of the problem.

Cavanaugh asked the County Board on Tuesday to place the matter on the agenda as an emergency item for discussion.

Commissioner Kyle Hutchings, chairman of the county's finance committee, asked Carpenter to supply daily updates on the status of the system to the County Board.

Cavanaugh's office uses the system to write payroll checks, checks to vendors and to make payments on bonds and to the Internal Revenue Service.

"We're 24 days from the new year," Cavanaugh said. "This is not a good sign. There is a deep concern a crisis does exist."

Haney's office uses the system to disburse the taxes that have been collected for the more than 150 political subdivisions in the county.

"This is a huge deal," Haney said. "Mr. Carpenter made this sound like a minor glitch. This is no minor glitch."

The city's finance department and the county's purchasing department also have had problems with the system.

Staff in Cavanaugh's and Haney's offices have lost time on work that needs to be done. They say if the accounting system is not functioning, they will have to make other plans.

Cavanaugh is prepared, if necessary, to arrange for the manual entry of all checks for the county payroll and to pay vendors. The first week of the new year is a pay period for the county.

On Tuesday, the commissioners approved 2,044 checks for a $2.6 million county payroll. They also approved 639 checks to vendors totaling $1.2 million.

Next Tuesday is the County Board's last scheduled meeting until Jan. 11. At that time, a resolution is to be passed authorizing Cavanaugh to pay all bills in the commissioners' absence. If the system is not working properly, however, Cavanaugh said, he will consult with the county attorney to decline that responsibility.

Cavanaugh said his contingency plan to make sure the county's bills are paid includes canceling staff vacations, requiring overtime and hiring at least six temporary employees to assist the 25 full- time staff in his office.

Haney said that if the system is not running today, she would instruct staff to inform the subdivisions that tax payments may be delayed.

The payments are made on or before the 15th of each month. Haney was not able to say what the amount of the tax disbursements would be for December because they vary each month.

Hutchings said that if Haney's and Cavanaugh's offices are not back online today, he would contact each commissioner to see what action to take. Hutchings said his concerns are whether the system will run until the end of the year.

The 11-year-old accounting system was the last computer system to be upgraded for the year 2000. Earlier this year, a consultant described the system as inflexible and not user-friendly. He recommended replacing the system.

The county and city, along with the Omaha- Douglas Public Building Commission, share in the use of the system. All three entities have contracted with the Government Finance Officers Association as a consultant on financial information technology to develop a plan to purchase a new accounting system.

-- Homer Helpful (no relation @ to the .other Homer), December 10, 1999.

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