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1998-02-20 11:04:28


17-Fold Increase in Estimated Cost for Repair: California



The costs keep going up, and the number of completed projects is close to zero. This is the story of government after government.

The head of the project, John Flynn, admits that every penny spent will be money down a rat hole if other computer systems in the state aren't fixed. This is the problem of interoperability, and it is the heart of the y2k problem. It's a systemic problem. You have to fix all of it in order to be sure of any of it.

This is the reason I am the doomsayer. I have looked at the interoperability problem, and I have seen chaos looming.

This appeared in the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER (Feb. 19).

* * * * * * * * *

The state estimates it will cost $840 million to fix the Year 2000 bug that afflicts older computers a staggering increase over the $50 million it projected just over a year ago.

In a report Wednesday, the Legislative Analyst's Office also questioned whether the agency in charge of the project, the Department of Information Technology, could meet what it called "optimistic" deadlines for fixing the date glitch and said the effort lacks contingency plans and sufficient oversight. . . .

A lot is at stake. Whole categories of tax collections and state benefits disability checks, welfare payments and unemployment insurance hinge on computers getting the date right.

The report said the Department of Information Technology's latest estimate for fixing the problem now at $240 million fails to account for $500 million in staff time diverted to the effort, plus $100 million in legal expenses. . . .

"I don't disagree with the tenor of the LAO's conclusions on costs," said John Flynn, the state's chief information officer.

Flynn will meet with county and local officials in Sacramento today to talk about the problem.

"The worst thing is, we could spend $250 million or whatever it might eventually be, and if our partners in the cities, counties and federal government haven't repaired their systems what good is it?" Flynn said. "There's no margin for error."


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