Rep. Horn gives agencies 'F' for Y2K work

The Clinton administration's overall grade for handling the Year 2000 problem dropped to an F in the quarter ended May 15, according to a report card issued today by a House Republican.

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Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, called agencies' performance on fixing the problem "dismal" and called on President Clinton to heighten awareness of the problem through a national address. "He's got to make a fireside chat on it," Horn said.

On Feb. 15, Horn gave an overall grade of D- to the 24 agencies that the subcommittee follows.

Horn, a former college president and professor, said subcommittee staff members based Year 2000 grades on information that had been submitted by the agencies. "This is not our data that we based it on," he said. "We based it on agency self-reporting."

At the top of Horn's federal Year 2000 report card was the Social Security Administration, which increased its grade from an A in the quarter ended Feb. 15 to an A+ in the quarter ended May 15. The General Services Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Science Foundation all earned an A-.

Six of the 24 agencies Horn graded earned failing grades: the Environmental Protection Agency, which dropped from a B in the previous quarter; the State Department; the Department of Health and Human Services; the Energy Department; the Transportation Department; and the Agency for International Development.

Horn's subcommittee based agencies' grades on the percentage of mission-critical systems that agencies have reprogrammed to be Year 2000-compliant as well as the percentage of systems that agencies said they would have Year 2000-compliant by March 1999. Criteria such as attention to Year 2000 contingency plans, telecommunication systems, embedded computer chips and data exchanges with other organizations also were factored into the grades.

The Defense Department, which is expected to spend nearly $1.9 billion fixing its Year 2000 problem, improved its grade from an F to a D. The Treasury Department, which will spend close to $1.4 billion on Year 2000, improved from a D to a C.

As of this morning, subcommittee staff members had not briefed administration officials on the grades.


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