New computer system has its glitches in Saginaw : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

New computer system has its glitches in Saginaw February 20, 2000, 12:19 PM

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) -- The city spent $5 million to make sure that when the new year arrived, a Y2K calamity in its old mainframe computer wouldn't arrive with it.

The new computer system got the city through New Year's without a hitch. Now officials are working to correct problems with their Y2K solution, their brand new personal computers.

Two months after New Year's, the city's police officers still can't use 30 new laptop computers to file reports, because the new computers can't network with a Lansing-based system that tracks criminal records and warrants, The Saginaw News reported.

And hundreds of the city's water customers have received bills for late charges that don't exist. The city even mailed some shutoff notices in error, said Saginaw City Councilman Delbert J. Schrems.

"Will it happen again? I can't guarantee it won't," said city spokesman William Bailey said of computer glitches.

Bailey said most of the problem can be traced to transferring an "enormous" amount of data from the "huge, belching" mainframe to the new personal computer-based system.

At first, the new system failed to bill water customers. Then it started sending out bills for nonexistent late fees, which Bailey said averaged about $2.50.

Those fees have been deleted from the system, he said. But Schrems said some problems with the new system remain.

At the police department, assistant chief Donald F. Pussehl Jr. said the new computers will eventually make officers' jobs easier. Rather than writing reports by hand, and passing them along to clerks who used to enter the information into the mainframe, officers will soon use the laptops to create reports in their patrol cars.

The laptops will also allow officers to access a network so they can share information with other officers in the county and with state police in Lansing.

Saginaw County Prosecutor Michael D. Thomas said the county's network will become the first of its kind in Michigan when it is completed this spring.

But the new computers, designed to work with the county system, don't currently work with the Law Enforcement Information Network in Lansing.

The problems have left officers returning from patrol early to type in reports on the department's desktop computers. They'll start working in their cars when the county system goes online.

"We're losing a little time, but I wouldn't say a lot," said Pussehl.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 20, 2000


classic y2k

Manual workarounds implemented to override failures in new system implementations.

-- Bud Hamilton (, February 20, 2000.

It took me four days to hitch-hike from there, once.

-- Paul Simon (, February 22, 2000.

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