Government can't compete. Private sector salaries for competent programmers are skyrocketing. Those mainframe programmers who remain in government are either incredibly dedicated (shall we count them?) or not very competent.
This is from Westergaard's site (May 27). The author is Victor Porlier.
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The 12th Annual Government Technology Conference - West met in Sacramento for five days of meetings from May 11th to 15th. A broad array of information technology topics was covered with several sessions devoted to Y2K. These sessions were well attended, indicating that awareness, concern, and need for information is growing among government IT workers.
I found that no one -- speakers or listeners-- was dismissing the seriousness of Y2K as hype or scaremongering. But, most of the speakers were more optimistic than their audiences. I spoke to a couple dozen attendees. All were sufficiently disturbed at the Y2K prospects to say that they would not be coming in to work on Saturday, January 1, 2000, because they planned to be far out of town. . . .
It is getting increasingly difficult to keep relevant expertise in government IT departments. According to one vendor, the private sector recruiters are in a feeding frenzy. Just as governments are getting more aware of the problem and making progress, the employees essential to Y2K success are hemorrhaging away to the higher- paying private sector.
One computer programmer told me she was leaving government this summer because she didn't want to be "some politician's scapegoat when this comes down on our heads." She noted that her department was being asked to add embedded chips and contingency planning to their workload. She added, "Lord, none of us know about that stuff!"