Powerful pressure group, the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), has called on President Clinton to set up a national taskforce to tackle the Year 2000 problem. Meanwhile, the White House is preparing to penalise government agencies for their laxity in handling the crisis.
In a letter to Clinton, ITAA President Harris Miller demanded that a nationwide taskforc, headed up by vice president Al Gore, should be established at once to ensure that corrective measures are taken across the US to make computer systems Year 2000 compliant.
The ITAA wants the taskforce to focus on ensuring that key federal government systems are compliant; assist individual state governments in drawing up their own survival plans; and monitor the progress being made in the private sector.
In his letter, Miller urged the government to take a heavier hand in dealing with the crisis. "Our public policy makers must make greater use of the 'Bully Pulpit' to provide, respectively, increased governmental activity and marketplace assurances in this matter," he wrote.
"A Task Force, including representatives of all segments of our national life which provide and use information systems, would be tasked with bringing greater attention, and urging increased action to address this situation."
The ITAA also proposed some specific measures, including the use of separate budget line items for Y2K related work within federal agencies and centralised tracking by the Department of Labor of the availability of skilled IT personnel to tackle the crisis.
But the Clinton administration is set to take its own action next week when the Office of Management and Budget effectively fines up to 16 government agencies for not keeping their Year 2000 conversions up to speed. Seven of the 24 government agencies are said to have demonstrated insufficient progress, while a further nine are causing concern.
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