Auditor's minor Y2k problem has been corrected, Petro says (OH) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Auditor's minor Y2K problem has been corrected, Petro says

Invoices sent to governments and schools printed a due date of 1900, not 2000.

Thursday, December 30, 1999

By Bill Mayr and Jim Woods Dispatch Staff Reporters

A state agency that has urged local governments to be Y2K-cautious ran into its own Y2K date glitch with a batch of invoices billing local governments with a due date in 1900.

The 904 invoices to local governments and school districts were prepared by state Auditor Jim Petro's office. The date should have read 2000.

"We had a minor printing error because the computer miscalculated the due date on the bills. All the other information on the bills was accurate,'' Petro spokeswoman Kim Norris said yesterday.

The error in the Dec. 10 printing was fixed and didn't reappear on a separate batch of invoices printed Monday, she said.

Local governments and school districts are billed for routine auditing work performed by the state agency. The agency mails invoices twice monthly.

The glitch was the sort of thing Petro's office has been cautioning local governments about.

"This is exactly why we have been stressing to local governments why they should test and retest for compliance with Y2K,'' Norris said. "You just have to be very careful.''

Y2K concerns arise because many older computers programmed with only the last two digits of the year might read "00'' as 1900 rather than 2000.

Unless corrected, this could result in errors or computer failures. Computer experts have noted that in the rush to make fixes, it's possible that some problems have been overlooked.

Meanwhile, Mayor Greg Lashutka urged people not to phone 911 when the new year arrives at midnight Friday unless there is an emergency.

Lashutka said he is not worried about a Y2K bug biting the 911 system. But a flood of unnecessary calls to 911 would overtax the system and overburden the operators.

"Using some common sense would be a good idea,'' Lashutka said.

In his last planned news conference as mayor, Lashutka yesterday lauded the work of the Columbus Y2K Council and the city's $37 million worth of preparation.

Columbus has received national recognition for its efforts in preparing for Y2K, Lashutka said.

Mayor-elect Michael B. Coleman -- who takes office Saturday -- was also on hand for the news conference and expressed similar sentiments.

There will be a symbolic passing of the torch between Lashutka and Coleman during the First Night festivities Friday in Downtown.

Lashutka and Coleman plan to be at the Emergency Operations Center at the Division of Police headquarters when the clock strikes midnight.

One potential Y2K problem identified by the city months ago was whether all of the traffic lights would work. Director of Technology Peter Anderson said tests have shown that the traffic lights are ready.

If traffic lights don't work, motorists should treat the intersection as a four-way stop, Anderson said.

Clergy on hand for yesterday's mayoral news conference stated that in the event of a Y2K problem, they think Columbus residents will react well.

"I personally am not worried about the Y2K problem,'' Monsignor Stephan J. Moloney said. "I know of no amount of technology problems that can disrupt the neighborliness and concerns.''

Rabbi Howard L. Apothaker joked that those who follow the Jewish calendar don't have to worry because it's actually the year 5760.

Databases going offline

Two local computer-database operations, Chemical Abstracts Service and the Online Computer Library Center in Dublin, will be going off line Friday for security reasons.

Chemical Abstracts' worldwide scientific database will be down from Friday morning through Sunday morning.

OCLC, which serves libraries and universities worldwide, will be down between 7 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday.

-- Homer Beanfang (, December 30, 1999

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