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1998-03-10 10:09:38


Weymouth, MA Is a Typical Small Town: Way Behind



Weymouth, Massachusetts is a typical small town. It just found out about the Year 2000 Problem. Its computers are not 2000-compliant. It has to spend a fortune (by its standards) on replacing its software. It has not decided what to do. It has to get everything replaced and tested in 18 months.

How? Local leaders have no idea what has to be done. They want to find out what other communities have done.

Meanwhile, the other communities are waiting for other communities. It's the Yugo Problem: "You go first. We'll see what you do. Then we'll copy you if you're successful."

When will anyone know what's successful? In the second quarter of 2000.

This is from the Quincy PATRIOT LEDGER (March 5).

* * * * * * *

WEYMOUTH -- Town officials are on a frantic mission to overhaul the town hall computer system before July 1, 1999.

Like virtually every computer system in the world, Weymouth's system has to be changed because it won't be able to read the year 2000.

But unlike other systems, the town's computer software is so messed up, the standard changes for 2000 won't be possible.

Instead, Weymouth has to overhaul its system, and it has to do it in 17 months or less.

Any new system would need to be in place, and tested for reliability, by July 1999, when the billing for fiscal 2000 begins.

"We need to move as quickly as possible," said Jim Wilson, secretary of the appropriations committee.

Nearly a month after the town released a consultant's report that recommended replacing the computer software programs, town officials are scrambling to get the funding by the May town meeting to complete the task. . . .

"The source of the funding does not have to be identified," Wilson said. . . .

It's unclear if the town's 4-year-old IBM AS/400 hardware needs to be replaced.

At a meeting Tuesday night, town officials and residents discussed whether Weymouth should contact other communities to see what software packages work for them and how they are dealing with the year 2000 computer conversion.

"This may be useful so we don't go down dead-end roads," Water and Sewer Superintendent Jay Fink said. "What are other communities doing and how long did it take them to do it?"

Leary said he would rather wait for a special town meeting in November to get the money for the projects. He wants the town to hire a consultant who would research which software best suits the town's needs. . . .


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