The University Record, December 14, 1998

U hosts Y2K forum for Michigan municipal leaders

By Bruce Spiher
Information Technology Division

Municipal leaders from various parts of Michigan brought their concerns about the Year 2000—Y2K—Millennium Bug with them when they attended a Y2K forum hosted by the University on Nov. 30 at the Michigan Union.

Questions about whether power and water would be available on Jan. 1, 2000, were on the minds of participants. Other concerns included whether fire engines and other vehicles would start; if radio systems would work; if the 911 emergency system would operate; and if phone systems would provide dial tones. Everyone seemed to agree with Jose Marie Griffiths, the University chief information officer and executive director of the Information Technology Division (ITD), when she said, “If we are prepared to deal with the worst, the reality will likely be better.”

One of the issues raised during the forum was the need for contingency planning. Ann Arbor Mayor Ingrid Sheldon raised this issue during her luncheon presentation, and Griffiths discussed contingency planning in detail during her presentation. “For every mission-critical system we will have a contingency and disaster recovery plan in place,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths and James Amin, director of the city of Ann Arbor’s administrative services, facilitated an interactive discussion about external dependencies and partnerships. Roger Sacks, ITD systems development coordinator, discussed the Y2K problem in general and the Y2K methodology being used by the U-M. He also spoke about various Y2K tools and resources that are available, including Web sites.

The Y2K forum was a collaboration between the city of Ann Arbor and Griffiths, the Office of State Outreach and ITD.

“The response from municipal leaders to this program was terrific. It’s clear that the University provided a great service by hosting this program,” said Richard Carter, associate director of the Office of State Outreach.

Participants came from Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Livonia, Midland, Pontiac, Rochester, Saginaw, Southfield and Ypsilanti. Many of them were complimentary about the forum and a number of them made specific recommendations for future Y2K forums.

Information from the forum and other Y2K information can be found on the U-M Y2K Web site at

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