New York Comptroller Scolds Departments Slack on Y2K Plans

New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall announced yesterday that key state agencies are making headway with their Year 2000-compliance efforts, but he publicly chided those same agencies for hesitating to put solid contingency plans in place.

"Progress is being made, but state officials must begin to get serious about contingency planning," he said. "There must be backup plans in the event that these essential computer systems fail."

McCall's comments came after he released seven reports derived from reviews of the Year 2000 status of 13 mission-critical and high-priority state agency computer systems, including those dealing with criminal history, fingerprint identification, veterans' health benefits and unemployment insurance benefits.

In New York, each state agency is responsible for making its own systems Year 2000-compliant. The reviews performed recently do not include testing or verification of the systems but only determine whether the agency has a Year 2000 plan in place and if the agency is on schedule to meet the plan's deadline. Reviews of 20 additional systems are currently under way.

Audits also have been performed, including one in October 1998 and one in April 1999. In the aftermath of those reports, McCall publicly warned agencies that they were not on track to meet the deadline.

Yesterday he stated, "A lot of hard work is under way to ensure that these critical systems function as we move into the new year. However, the problems we identified in reviewing these individual systems, such as inadequate time for testing and lack of contingency planning, are the same concerns raised in the April audit."

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