Date error was human not Y2k : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Date error was human, not Y2K


TRENTON - Don't blame this glitch on the Y2K computer problem.

It was human error that led to 90,000 parents being notified that their child-support payments were due Jan. 1, 1900, according to a state Department of Human Services spokesman.

A typist with a private company apparently hit the wrong keys before the reminders were sent out the week before Christmas, spokesman Ed Rogan said.

Most of the 480,000 New Jersey parents who pay child support have the money taken out of their paychecks. Payment coupon books and reminder letters are mailed to the remaining 90,000 who pay directly, Rogan said.

The lists are generated by Tier Technologies of West Trenton, which subcontracts the printing job to Alison Printing. Rogan did not know where the printing company is located. Department officials became aware of the mistake late last week, he said.

Alison was directed, at its own expense, to mail letters of apology and corrected coupon books noting payments are due Jan. 1, 2000, Rogan said yesterday. The correct mailing is expected to arrive in mailboxes this week, he said.

No exceptions will be made for parents who try to use the excuse of a 100-year miscue to miss the January payment

-- Homer Beanfang (, December 28, 1999



Y2K bug may have taken an early bite

Tuesday, December 28, 1999

By OVETTA WIGGINS Trenton Bureau

Talk about being late paying your bills.

When Charles Morrison received his monthly notice for next month's alimony payments, his statement indicated he owed five payments in January 1900.

"I sure hope there's no interest on it," joked the Lodi resident.

Morrison was among 90,000 people who recently received the letters from the New Jersey Family Support Processing Center, which is responsible for notifying parents and ex-spouses of their child support and alimony payments.

Morrison, a computer programmer, figures the state has the Y2K bug to thank for the mix-up. His personal favorite is the payment due on "01/34/1900."

"Obviously they did try to fix the Y2K problem," Morrison said. "The 34 makes it seem like they were monkeying around with it and they screwed it up."

The New Jersey Family Support Processing Center is run by Tier Technologies Inc., an agency that began a three-year, $17 million contract with the state in October to handle the administration of child support payments.

No one at the agency would comment Monday.

Ed Rogan, a spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, said that new notices, with the correct dates, will be sent out this week.

The vendor, which subcontracts with a printing company, will pay for the mistake, at no additional cost to the state, Rogan said.

The state spokesman denied that the erroneous letters were the result of the so-called Y2K bug, which occurs when a computer interprets "00" as 1900, and not 2000.

He instead blamed it simply on human error.

"They indicated to us that they were Y2K compliant," he said. "They sent us certification indicating that they were."

Instead of a computer glitch, he explains it this way: "Someone was supposed to input the information in a certain data field and they made a mistake. . . . Somebody needed to put in 2000, but instead put in 00."

Morrison, who has recently been spending his time working on Y2K compliance, laughed.

"I don't know," he said. "Unless they're typing in dates on all the letters. And that sounds like a lot of data entry to me. I have a feeling that the computer did that."

This is the second time this year a computer glitch was blamed for a state Department of Human Services error.

In March, the department mistakenly placed $23 million in the electronic benefit accounts of food stamp recipients 11 days before it intended.

The recipients collectively spent $5 million during a two-day grocery shopping spree. In that case, state officials originally blamed the computer glitch on an upgrade of the state welfare computer system that was designed to thwart the millennium bug, but they later said it was caused by human error.

The state has spent more than $120 million during the last three years to make certain that its computers -- which do everything from sending out welfare checks to keeping track of licensed drivers -- are Y2K compliant.

During a recent news conference to tout the state's Y2K efforts, Governor Whitman said the state is well-prepared for the new millennium.

-- Homer Beanfang (, December 28, 1999.

The lawyers have been lining up for three years in preparation for this event. No one will openly admit that any problem is related to Y2K. The liability is a huge concern for government and industry alike.

-- Fitbone (, December 28, 1999.

Anybody ever see a cat in kitty litter?

All of these jokers are going to have to be on gurneys, with IV drips, before they'll ever admitt that it's a y2k computer glitch.

Even then, it may not happen.

-- Richard (, December 28, 1999.

All y2k problems are "human errors" -- did the computers program themselves?

What a remarkable piece of spin!

-- Anita Evangelista (, December 28, 1999.

Please, please, now let's NOT be so skeptical!

Many, many COMPUTER GENERATED forms leave the YEAR to be filled in by HUMANS ON TYPEWRITERS. This is due to union requirements -- many of the people who otherwise would have been layed off years ago still are employed in this single task, due to a labor/management compromise. Often, these people are also handicapped and educationally disadvantaged. The problem has nothing to do with Y2K, but with the need to devote more Federal and State tax dollars to training so that these people can continue to live useful, productive lives.

(Now, admittedly, every thing that I just wrote is pure BS, and I made the whole thing up, but I figured it's what we will see anyway from the pollies, so why wait?)

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), December 28, 1999.

A typist put in 1900 90,000 times, Wow, that's some typist.

-- PD (, December 28, 1999.

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