Administration warns state systems not Y2K-ready

Although virtually all federal computer systems are ready for the millennium, the Clinton administration warned last week that many state computer systems are not, and that those systems could affect the delivery of federal benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid payments, unemployment insurance payments, child care and child nutrition programs.

Of the 50 states and five territories, only 41 are fully ready for the new millennium, the Office of Management and Budget reported. Alabama, American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have the greatest number of noncompliant computer systems. Each has noncompliant computer systems managing at least three federal programs.

According to OMB, other states and territories with at least one problem include California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico.

In its final 1999 report on efforts to make federal computer systems ready to recognize the dates in 2000, OMB declared the federal government "99.9 percent compliant" and "well-prepared."

But OMB also warned that "even with all of the intensive planning efforts of the federal government, there will undoubtedly be some Y2K problems that emerge."

Thus, federal agencies will spend the final days of 1999 testing their computer systems and refining plans designed to keep agencies operating despite any computer difficulties.

Although the federal government does not have control over the state-run programs or the computer systems that administer them, federal agencies have included the programs in their contingency plans in an effort to ensure that disruptions in the delivery of services are minimal, according to OMB.

Of 6,175 mission-critical computer systems, 6,167 were declared ready for the year 2000 while eight were not compliant, the OMB reported Dec. 14. Of the eight systems, four are to be replaced, three are to be repaired, and one is to be scrapped.

Two of the noncompliant systems are run by the Justice Department and six are run by the military. But the noncompliant systems will not degrade law enforcement or national security, OMB contends.

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