Originally created 01/26/99

Even best Y2K-prepared Georgia cities not ready



ATLANTA -- Even computer experts for two Georgia cities considered to be best prepared for the computer-disabling millennium bug next Jan. 1 say they need more time to get ready.

"What I got out of today is we're still in a lot of trouble," said Doug Mundrick, moderator of a Georgia Municipal Association-sponsored session on Y2K preparedness. Mundrick, a Duluth City Council member, made the remark Sunday after hearing presentations from the Athens-Clarke County and LaGrange governments.

Mundrick said he was concerned particularly about potential problems with billions of embedded computer chips in commonplace items like burglar alarms, elevators and gas pumps.

Awareness is the first step toward dealing with the problem, said Lanny Robinson, administrator of computer information services in Athens, and Alan Slaughenhaupt, director of information and technology in LaGrange.

"The difficulty we experienced was getting people's attention," Robinson said. "They said, `That's a computer problem. It doesn't have a thing in the world to do with me. I don't want to hear any more about it.' But this is ... a problem we're all going to have to face."

Athens-Clarke County went to work on the Y2K bug in May 1997 and LaGrange started in early 1998. But both Robinson and Slaughenhaupt say there is a lack of time.

Robinson said governments that haven't started work in earnest will learn time is short, and consulting help, if available at all, will command premium prices.