Bell Atlantic Corp. will disband the outside boards of directors of its state operating companies, including Bell Atlantic-Maryland, and replace them with all-employee boards, a company spokesman said yesterday.
The board of the Philadelphia-based parent company will continue to have outside directors.
The state-level boards will disband at the end of the year, said spokesman Jay Grossman.
The change does little more than ratify a trend toward centralized operations of the telephone company.
At one time, particularly before the breakup of the old American Telephone & Telegraph Co., the state operating companies enjoyed much greater autonomy.
Today the independent boards at the state level are a bit of an anachronism.
Mr. Grossman said one of the reasons for disbanding the boards was cost, but he added that the decision also reflected the fact that the company's operations are now organized by lines of business.
"We have a lot of customers who straddle more than one jurisdiction," Mr. Grossman said.
"It's very important that the decisions we make are consistent across the state boundaries," he said.
Mr. Grossman said the move makes Bell Atlantic the fourth of the seven regional Bell companies to abolish state-level outside boards.
For a time, the state boards did fulfill a function of cementing informal alliances with powerful businesses in each of the six states in Bell Atlantic territory, plus the District of Columbia.
Past board members of the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone of Maryland -- which became Bell Atlantic-Maryland in 1994 -- included the chief executive officers of Alex. Brown & Sons and USF&G Corp.
Mr. Grossman said current outside directors include George Bunting, former president of the Noxell Corp.; Rhoda Dorsey, former president of Goucher College; and Robert Tardio, a Bethesda financial consultant.