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Y2K bids vary wildly in Franklin Co.

August 09, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The cost of exterminating the Millennium Bug in Franklin County's 380 computers could vary widely, according to the three bids submitted Thursday to the Board of County Commissioners.

The low bid on fixing software and hardware glitches was $7,280 by RBA Inc. of State College, Pa. American Advanced Computers of Williamsport, Md., submitted a bid of $17,883.50.

A third bid from Sunrise Computers of Chambersburg was for "time and materials," but based on a 10-percent bid bond, the figure was $37,940, according to Board Chairman G. Warren Elliott.

"We're going to have to do an analysis of these because I think we have apples and oranges," Elliott said about the bids.

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Management Information Systems Manager Robert Mahoney said the difference in the bids could be due in part to the cost of software research. The county has about 150 different software applications, he said.

"It's very standard off-the-shelf products we have," Mahoney said, listing Lotus 1-2-3, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and other products. Software research could mean anywhere from five minutes to a couple of hours to determine if applications are year 2000 compliant.

Most of the county's computers will need "patches" to make their software ready for the turn of the century, when some computers may recognize the date change as 1900 instead of 2000. Mahoney said the process for correcting the problems is relatively simple: Applications on each computer are shut down. A disc with the software patch is then inserted and run, replacing certain files in the applications.

The County Commissioners will decide Tuesday whether to accept or reject the bids received Thursday.

Mahoney said the county's Y2K review process includes more than computers. Copiers, telephone systems, fax machines, heating and air conditioning systems and even elevators have been examined to ensure they will be operating after Jan. 1.

Vendors, such as the power and telephones companies serving the county, are also being asked to verify they are Y2K compliant, according to Mahoney.

The commissioners recently instructed department heads to develop contingency plans to operate two to five days without computers should there be a failure on New Year's Day.

The county will hold a Y2K drill on Sept. 22 from noon to 4 p.m.

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