Consultants to check computers

April 15, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Within about three months, Franklin County should know whether the turn of the millenium will be a headache for its government.

The County Commissioners hired a consultant on Tuesday to examine its computers for the so-called millenium problem.

RBA Professional Data Systems of State College, Pa., won the contract with a low bid of $4,780. Two other companies, Sunrise Computers of Chambersburg and Knowledge Soft Inc. of Mechanicsburg, Pa., also submitted proposals.

Within the next three weeks, the inspection of the county's approximately 185 computers will begin, according to Brian Kelly, an administrative assistant in the commissioners' office.

The county also has about six file servers that connect personal computers, Kelly said.

Many computer systems could fail on Jan. 1, 2000, because they are not programmed to recognize the change of centuries.

According to Kelly, RBA will be looking at both the software and hardware of the mostly desktop personal computers. Kelly said the survey is expected to take about 60 days.


"We do not know how much of a Y2K problem we have, but we will be ready for the year 2000," Chief Clerk John Hart said. Once the extent of the problem is known, Hart said, the county's goal is to be "Year 2000 compliant" by Dec. 31.

Hart said that will give the county all of 1999 "to test our systems and be sure we haven't overlooked anything."

Much of the county's data processing for the past dozen years has been done by EUR Datacenter Inc. of Mechanicsburg, Kelly said. That company has a considerable amount of work to do before it's ready for the next century, according to Kelly.

On five of the 10 accounts the company runs for the county, the software will have to be modified and then transferred to new hardware. Contract management, mental health/mental retardation, the county retirement plan and voter registration are among those that need both hardware and software changes.

Kelly said three software systems, the pay benefits, pay rate and payroll systems will need to be transferred to new hardware systems.

He said the judicial computer system for the Clerk of Courts Office and the Probation Department appear to be fine.

An EUR letter to the county said the 10th system, Total Accounting For Government, "is quite old ... and is not easily convertible to a more contemporary platform."

"The county must pursue some alternative solution," the letter stated. It said EUR could help put together another software package and convert files to a new system.

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