Blue Cross says it will give pay figures to legislature


Reversing its position, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland said yesterday it will supply the legislature with current estimates of the compensation paid to top company officials and board members.

The company had said it could not disclose 1995 pay levels until after the year ended and performance bonuses were calculated.

But, facing legislative criticism, Blue Cross' general counsel and senior vice president, John A. Picciotto, said yesterday the company will provide estimates before the end of the 1995.

Legislators warned that Blue Cross' corporate restructuring plans -- which will require the General Assembly's approval -- would not go forward until the information was turned over.

"I hope they don't think they're going to do a deal without giving Senator [George W.] Della [Jr.] that information," said Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Mr. Della, a Baltimore Democrat, requested the information several weeks ago during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Blue Cross' restructuring plans. The nonprofit company is considering dividing itself into new nonprofit and for-profit businesses and selling stock to investors.

The company did submit salary figures on Monday, but they were for 1994. Company officials said there had been a "misunderstanding" about what pay information is currently available. Senators disagreed, saying they had made clear they want up-to-date figures.

Blue Cross salaries have been a sensitive issue. A former president, Carl J. Sardegna, earned $850,000 in 1991 even though the company nearly became insolvent during his administration.

The current president and chief executive, William L. Jews, was paid $636,236 last year.

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