UPDATE - PA, NJ Officials Report Minor Y2K Bugs in First Quarter...Computers Will Be Monitored At Least Through June 30

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Title: Pa., N.J. officials report few Y2K bugs

Minor problems were found in the first quarter of 2000. Computers will be watched at least through June 30.

By Larry Lewis


State government computer systems in Pennsylvania and New Jersey whirred through the first quarter of 2000 with barely a bump, officials say, collecting taxes and writing reports just like always.

So much for the vaunted Y2K bug.

"We're pretty much, on this, in clear waters," said Scott Elliott, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Governor's Office of Administration.

Wendy W. Rayner, chief information officer for New Jersey, said: "I'm really pleased. We've had no major stoppages or problems."

The fear was that computer programs identifying years with two digits instead of four would read 00 as 1900 instead of 2000 and shut down the system.

Officials in Harrisburg and Trenton said they would continue to review the effectiveness of their Y2K preparations until at least the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

Elliott said that for a time, Pennsylvania documents were printed with the wrong dates at the top. That problem was quickly corrected, he said.

At first, security workers trying to print out daily logs of key-card users who had been in and out of locked buildings received improper dates on their reports, he added.

"We've had problems, but no show-stoppers," said Elliott, who helped coordinate Pennsylvania's three-year upgrade of state computers to avoid the feared Y2K problem.

"Our problems were so small that we didn't think we even had to make the public aware of them," said Rayner, an adviser to New Jersey Gov. Whitman on computer security.

New Jersey began discussing the Y2K problem in 1992, and had a plan in place to correct it by 1995.

Rayner said New Jersey state government had about 700 computer systems. "We bought a lot of software to upgrade what we had," she said.

Rayner said the final cost was $112 million, $8 million below the projected cost of $120 million.

"It's nice to know we didn't go over," she said.

Most of the money spent for Y2K upgrades in Pennsylvania and New Jersey came from the yearly budgets of the departments whose computer systems needed the work, officials said.

The rest was covered by special funding provided for Y2K fixes.

Pennsylvania officials said more than 46,000 mainframe computers and 40,000 personal computers in the 40 agencies under Gov. Ridge were checked and updated or replaced.

That work was projected to cost $45 million. Elliott said the final tally showed it actually cost $41.9 million.

"If we had not had three years of hard work by state employees, we could have had problems," he said.

Larry Lewis' e-mail address is llewis@phillynews.com http://www.phillynews.com/inquirer/2000/May/15/city/SY2K15.htm


-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), May 15, 2000

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