Two GOP senators blast federal Y2K plans

Computer World –

WASHINGTON -- Federal Y2K preparedness efforts were faulted today by two U.S. senators, who said the Clinton administration has yet to develop a strategy for protecting the nation's infrastructure.

"The administration waited until the eleventh hour to recognize that they have a responsibility to manage this problem," said Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) in a statement today." Congress has provided more than $7 billion for this effort, and they don't have their final emergency plans in place. That's unacceptable."

The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion this week announced a new Information Coordination Center (ICC), which plans to form ties with umbrella groups in industries such as power, telecommunications, transportation and pharmaceuticals (see story).

But according to Thompson, only 15 of the 40 ICC staff positions have been filled, and the ICC hasn't developed a final plan for protecting the infrastructure from year 2000 problems.

Thompson and Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), who heads the Senate's special committee on the year 2000 problem, said their concerns followed an inquiry they made to the ICC on its planning efforts.

But Jack Gribben, spokesman for President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, which formed the ICC, said he didn't believe the criticism was fair. "We are confident that the ICC is going to be useful," he said.

Gribben said the job of the ICC is to collect and coordinate information from the private sector, and not fix year 2000 problems in various industries. "The industry knows best how to respond," he said.

Gribben said the ICC won't have a problem meeting its staffing requirements. He expects that workers from other agencies will be detailed to the ICC.

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