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County to pay $2.8 million on Y2K

April 20, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Commissioners agreed to spend $2.8 million Tuesday to make the county's payroll and other financial systems Y2K compliant.

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The contract for software, hardware and training went to Carrera Consulting Group of Sacramento, Calif., and PeopleSoft USA of Atlanta.

The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner John L. Schnebly voting no. He said he wanted to see cost estimates from other proposals first. Seven proposals were reviewed by a committee, which made the final recommendation to the commissioners.

The money will come from surplus funds from the fiscal 1998 and 1999 budgets.

In addition to making the financial systems compliant, the software also will automate some procedures that are now done manually. For example, employees could do routine purchasing from their computers rather than filling out paper forms by hand.

The county will start using the software in June. Full implementation won't be complete until July 2000.

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The county can share the software with the Board of Education and Hagerstown Community College, saving costs for both, said Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger.

The contract amount represents a "worst case scenario" and costs could eventually be lower, said Computer Information System Director Ron Whitt.

The software is expected to last at least 20 years. Frederick County, Md., is implementing the same software.

Older software in computers everywhere has to be upgraded because it was not programmed to recognize the year 2000, a problem that has come to be known as the Y2K bug.

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