CongressLine - On a Wing and a Prayer: Local Governments and the Year 2000By Carol M. Morrissey, Published on February 15, 1999
The Year 2000 issue has been the subject of countless hearings on Capitol Hill. On October 2, 1998 the Senate Special committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem held a hearing on "General Government Services." Representatives of federal, state and local governments attended the hearing and testified as to their particular level of preparedness. Bruce Romer, Chief Administrative Officer of Montgomery County, MD appeared as a representative of NACo, the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG) and the county. His statement is a primer for serious Y2K preparation (such as a County Year 2000 Compliance Program Timeline and a Year 2000 Decision Structure) and he clearly demonstrates that conquering the millennium bug is within the grasp of local governments. (His testimony can be accessed at http//:www.senate.gov/~y2k/statements/100298romer.html. Montgomery County, MD has a Year 2000 site which can be visited at: http://www.co.mo.md.us/Year2000/.) Other testimony from the October 2 hearing can be accessed from: http://www.senate.gov/~y2k/generalgovernment.html.
In January 1999, the House committee on Government Reform subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology held a joint hearing with the committee on Science entitled, "The Year 2000 Problem: Status Report on Federal, State, Local and Foreign Governments." One of the panelists, Joel Willemssen, Director, Civil Agencies Information Systems Accounting and Information Management Division of the General Accounting Office, noted that a significant problem on the state and local level is "prematurely declaring" critical projects compliant when they have not been thoroughly tested. Another panelist, John Koskinen, Chairman of the President's Council on the Year 2000 Conversion, believes that many federal and state agencies are being diligent, but that the greatest risk is posed by those in the private and public sector who are not taking the problem seriously. (The testimony of Mr. Koskinen; the testimony of Mr. Gershwin, and the testimony of Mr. Willemssen.)
Technologies, Inc. Y2K links
In the event that I have piqued your curiosity and further investigation is necessary, the following sites may be useful. Public Technologies, Inc., the technology arm of the National League of Cities, NACo and the International City/County Management Association has provided local government, case studies, federal, state and industry links under "Y2K and You" at http://www.pti.nw.dc.us/y2k/links.html. The General Services Administration (GSA) has a Y2K U.S. State and Local Governments links page, which can be accessed at http://www.itpolicy.gsa.gov/mks/yr2000/state.htm. If it is guidance you seek, NACo has created a toolkit with Y2K tips, materials, conference information and workshops. For further information, please go to http://www.naco.org/programs/infotech/y2k/y2k_form.cfm. The League of Minnesota Cities has also put together a Year 2000 Action Guide for cites, which can be downloaded at http://www.lmnc.org/public/yr2000/actionguide.htm.
Good luck, fellow citizens, may your local government take the coming of the new millennium seriously and BE PREPARED.