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The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion


Janet Abrams, executive director of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, told a USIA digital video conference December 17 that the council's 25 working groups -- made up of senior federal officials -- are in the process of assessing the Y2K readiness of key industrial sectors such as air, rail, electric power, oil and gas, and food supply.

Here's is Wild2K's summary of what Janet Abrams says in this lengthy report:

The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion meets monthly. John Koskinen is the Chair of the council, while Janet Abrams is the Executive Director. There are 40 members divided into 25 working groups. All 40 members are senior federal government officials. They just had their eighth meeting. Their efforts are broken into three stages: 1. Awareness; 2. Assessment; 3. Contingency planning and emergency response. So far, most of their time has been spent helping the various organizations they work with become aware of Y2K. Now they are engaged in assessment efforts, trying to determine how prepared the various segments of our society are for Y2K. They are determining the readiness of government/corporate structures through surveys and data gathering. They plan to release the survey information they gather on a quarterly basis, and also hold week to week news conferences and events. The first quarterly report is due out at the end of this year. They are vague about how their information is collected and it seems likely that there is no direct inspection of any of the agencies they are working with. The assessment process will continue through 1999. They will design contingency plans based on the information they are gathering now.

Other comments from the report:

Some states "are in great shape", while others "are not as far along as we would like."

They are very concerned about the readiness of cities and counties. According to Abrams, roughly 50 percent of county governments in our country - and there are some 4,000 counties in the United States - do not have a comprehensive Y2K readiness plan.

They are very concerned about the overall readiness of the international community.

They are concerned about panic and working to prevent it through various programs - stockpiling additional cash, providing Y2K updates and information "in a responsible way", supporting grassroots efforts to prepare local communities for potential disturbances, encouraging city and county governments to take Y2K more seriously.

They are developing an over-arching capacity to manage what could be a large series of mild to moderate disruptions in our country.

They support grassroots community preparedness efforts, including storing some food in schools, and preparing heated contingency shelters, and encourage these grassroots movements to "put positive pressure on their local leaders to do the work they have to do to fix their system and develop their contingency plans over the coming months."

The complete report, including question and answer session, follows. The original can be located by going to the USIA's Washington File archives at:

Type "abrams cites" (without quotes) into the search box after the "pn=washington" search string. The following article is the first item in the resulting list.

-Wild2k Memo

See also: A great resource for up-to-date Federal Government Presentations on Y2K, the President's Y2K Council's Y2K Community Conversations, and Darker Than You Think: Comments on The Senate Report on Y2K