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March 5, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan today strengthened his office's oversight of state government's preparations to deal with potential "Year 2000" computer problems, and unveiled an action plan that includes monthly updates from state agencies, a "watch list" for departments that are not meeting deadlines and increased public information and awareness.

Ryan's action plan complements the release of the latest Year 2000 Project preparedness report detailing the status of agencies that are testing and correcting deficiencies in their computer systems.

"This report covers the last three months of 1998 and shows that most state agencies still have a long way to go in order to be Y2K compliant," Ryan said. "The action plan I'm initiating today is designed to speed up our preparedness efforts and to make sure that state government copes with any Y2K problems.

"I have instructed each member of my cabinet to make Y2K preparedness a top priority within each of their departments. If their conversion plans are on target I expect them to continue. If their conversions are falling behind schedule, I want them to make every effort to correct their system deficiencies," he added.

Other provisions of the Governor's action plan include: *Beginning in April, all state agencies will report the status of Y2K preparedness on a monthly basis, instead of once every three months.
*Establishing a "watch list" of state agencies that are not addressing critical areas or failing to meet reporting deadlines.
*Conducting meetings with entities regulated by state government that deal with health and safety of Illinois citizens to determine Y2K preparedness. Assistance will be offered as needed.
*Meeting monthly with appropriate agencies to prepare Y2K contingency plans and to have an overall state contingency plan in place by May to deal with any possible emergencies.
*Meetings with local governments, other state and federal agencies to determine the readiness of inter-related systems.
*Conducting workshops with state agencies and appropriate personnel from other constitutional offices, the General Assembly and the courts to assess the scope of potential problems, readiness and to discuss inter-related systems, contingency planning and legal issues.
*Developing an awareness campaign to help prepare the public for January 1, 2000, to calm fears about preparedness efforts. This campaign will include a state homepage that will act as a central clearinghouse for Y2K-related information, including checklists and preparedness suggestions for citizens, businesses, schools and local government.

To help lead the state's Y2K efforts, Ryan created the Year 2000 Preparedness Council, which will work with the Illinois Technology Office in his administration. He said the Council will hold its first meeting later this month to assess the current state of Y2K preparedness within state agencies and to set timelines for project reporting and completion deadlines.

In the coming week, Ryan will announce the names of the Council, which also will work with the year 2000 Technology Task Force created by the legislature.


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