Bay State officials call Y2K worries unfounded

The Boston Herald, June 26, 1999
By Azell Murphy Cavaan

Y2K worst-case scenarios should be put to rest and jittery consumers should sleep soundly at night knowing Jan. 1, 2000, will be ``just another day in New England,'' industry leaders said yesterday.

``The most up-to-date, factual information that we have tells us that things are under control,'' said Paul M. Connolly, first vice president and chief operating officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Connolly made his remarks during a three-hour Y2K conference held yesterday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston where information specialists from the banking, electrical, telecommunication, emergency service, hospital, food supply, transportation and aviation industries exchanged data.

``While no one can say exactly what will happen at the dawn of the millennium, I'm happy to tell you the outlook for the region is very, very positive,'' Connolly said.

However, anticipating that minor glitches at the turn of the millennium are imminent, Connolly said yesterday the federal reserve is considering making emergency cash available for banks across the nation.

Also under consideration is a plan for special lending programs for banks that may need to take out an emergency loan because of Y2K-related problems.

Others said that everything from cellular phone calls and airplane flights to MBTA service and health-related services will be virtually uninterrupted when the clock strikes midnight.

``We are expecting 1.5 to 2.5 million people to be in our city on the first night of the year 2000,'' said Sgt. William Bradley, Y2K coordinator for the Boston Police Department. ``We've met with local business owners, utility companies, community groups, the MBTA and alarm system companies to ensure the night will be like any other.''

With less than six months left before the year 2000 is rung in, industry leaders said contingency planning is now the focal point.

``Floods, fires and blizzards have not prevented us from getting back to business very quickly and I don't expect Y2K will be any different,'' said Roger Ford, MBTA emergency and special projects coordinator for operations.

At Logan Airport, authorities are requesting all employees report to work Jan. 1. The airline industry expects to spend about $340 million to make sure airplanes remain in the air and flights take off on-time, according to Thomas L. Kinton of the Massachusetts Port Authority.

Also, food industry providers said shelves will be stocked in grocery stores across the region Jan. 1 while health care authorities vowed patients will be safe in their care.

``The hospitals will be prepared,'' said Andrew Freed, executive director of the Massachusetts Hospital Association Enterprise.

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