White House assures Congress it is on top of Y2K

John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on the Year 2000 Conversion, assured the House Banking and Financial Services Committee today that President Clinton is giving the Year 2000 computer problem high priority."[Clinton] made it clear recently at a meeting of his cabinet that agency heads bear the full responsibility for the successful preparation of their agencies' mission-critical systems for the transition to the Year 2000," Koskinen told the committee.

Koskinen, who testified before Congress for the second time in as many weeks, also noted that he will be meeting on a regular basis with the President's Management Council, the Chief Information Officers Council, the Chief Financial Officers Council and the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency as well as cooperating with Vice President Al Gore and his staff to further manage the government's Year 2000 problem.

"I will be joining the vice president and the staff of the National Partnership for Reinventing Government as they continue to work to improve customer service at the 32 federal agencies identified as having a 'high impact' on our citizens," he said. "Nothing is more central to improved customer service than a smooth transition to the Year 2000."

Chairman James Leach (R-Iowa) said his two primary concerns are the possibility of a critical shortage of skilled labor to fix government agencies Year 2000 problems and the ability of the private sector to pay higher salaries for skilled labor.

"It's a very worrisome phenomenon to think in terms of a possible talent shortage," Leach said. "The government has a great obligation to be prepared."

Koskinen said the Office of Personnel Management met last week with agency CIOs to discuss the issue. As the Year 2000 problem progresses, OPM and agency officials will be monitoring the situation with and taking the appropriate actions.

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