"Y2K Bug Brought Few Glitches Statewide, State Says Y2K Preparation Worthwhile"

Fears over the impact of the Y2K bug on Washington government and business are fading as the new year proceeds.

“Fears over the impact of the Y2K bug on Washington government and business are fading as the new year proceeds.The Washington State Year 2000 Coordination Center at Camp Murray began reducing operations beginning the afternoon of New Year’s Day. The center had been in operation from December 28, 1999 through Tuesday. It had been formed to gather and monitor reports of Y2K-related issues across the state involving critical public services such as electricity, telecommunications, transportation and government services.State agencies and businesses used Monday, the first full workday after the New Year’s Day holiday, to test systems after monitoring them over the weekend. Most agencies found no system problems, but a few agencies and jurisdictions did report minor problems including:- The City of Redmond reported it uncovered problems with its older city-issued fuel access cards and with its E-9-1-1 automatic dispatch system. Both problems were corrected by Monday. The fuel access cards were recorded and are working, and the E-9-1-1 dispatch system is running.- The City of Olympia reported a problem with a computer software system that handles emergency services reports. The vendor has been contacted to resolve the problem.- The Department of Corrections’ Clallam Bay Correctional Center reported that the facility’s perimeter fence system was providing false readings because the software would not accept a zero in the last position of the date field. A temporary fix was made and the vendor will make the final corrections. Officials reported that overall security at the facility was not affected.- The Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla and the Reynolds Work Release facility in Seattle both reported telephone service disruptions. The disruptions have been fixed.- The University of Washington Medical Centers reported minor date display problems with a handful of one particular medical device. The medical equipment problems were corrected Saturday and had no impact on patient care, officials said.Overall, the reported Y2K glitches were as anticipated and did not impact the delivery of government services to Washington residents, according to the Washington State Year 2000 Office. In the few cases where Y2K problems did occur, contingency plans were implemented and service was maintained without interruption.Though few Y2K problems were reported, the preparation involved for the Year 2000 was not a waste, staff at the center said.“The state’s investment in Y2K preparation and prevention has paid off,” said Julie Boyer, the center’s director. “State agencies achieved Governor Locke’s goal of no interruption of vital services with no loss of accountability for public resources. Thanks to the dedicated work of employees in agencies across the state, we have continued our smooth transition into the new year.”Boyer said Y2K preparedness benefits will be long lasting for the public as well as for businesses and government agencies. Other in the public and private sectors agreed with Boyer that the preparations were useful in preventing significant technology failures, as well as improving emergency planning throughout the state.Burr Stewart of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport said Y2K conversion efforts helped to prevent equipment failures that otherwise could have occurred.US West spokesperson Lynn Espinoza said the telephone network in Washington is stronger as a result of Y2K-related upgrades.Preparations for dealing with the Y2K bug brought greater attention to the importance of emergency readiness for every type of disaster, according to Glen Woodbury, director of the state Emergency Management Division.“Y2K increased the public’s confidence in the ability of government and the business community to keep vital services up and running,” Woodbury said.Being prepared for Y2K possibilities resulted in upgrades in computer systems and equipment repairs, infrastructure enhancements, and increased financial and personnel resources for emergency preparedness, Woodbury said.”

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