Shoddy shape of state, local 2000 readiness worries GAO
- By Florence Olsen
- Mar 15, 1999
The readiness of state and local governments is becoming the chief source of
concern for General Accounting Office officials responsible for overseeing progress with
year 2000 fixes.
Were less optimistic when we look at state and local governments,
said Joel Willemssen, GAO director for civilian agency information systems.
Speaking at a recent year 2000 forum in Washington, Willemssen said the lack of
detailed readiness data from key economic sectors also is worrisome because of potential
disruptions to water, power and telecommunications.
Our big concern is not what we know but what we dont know, Willemssen
The federal government will not be out of the danger zone on March 31, the date most
agencies expect to complete their mission-critical systems fixes, Willemssen said.
Were talking about individual systems, not multiple systems working
together to support a key business area, he said.
Agencies will need the remainder of the year for system-to-system testing to make
sure all those exchanges and interfaces with other entities work as we hope,
The Interior Departments recent high grades for year 2000 readiness came largely
from good planning, Interior chief information officer Daryl White said at the forum.
For every hour you spend planning, you save days and weeks in execution,
The departments Bureau of Reclamation, for example, sought authority to bring
back temporary dam operatorsthe people who know how to turn the big wheels on
and offin the event of failure in systems that regulate water flow, he said.
Readiness is not rocket science, White said. Its good
management and good communications.