In the Region State health agency gets federal grant to...

BUSINESS DIGEST

July 17, 2002

In the Region

State health agency gets federal grant to study uninsured

The state Health Department has received a $1.23 million federal grant for a one-year study of Maryland's uninsured. The study will look at how employers choose whether to offer health coverage, how workers choose whether to participate and the costs of covering more of the uninsured.

Debbie I. Chang, deputy health secretary, said the study could allow the state to explore public-private links to expand coverage, as it has done in the Maryland Children's Health Program. Her office will work with the Maryland Health Care Commission and researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The grant was one of 12 awarded to states by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

Elsewhere

Ford asks officers to sign agreement barring defections

Ford Motor Co. has asked 52 top corporate officers to sign an agreement barring them from defecting to another major automaker for two years. The company said it took the step to protect its human resources and proprietary information.

In return for their pledge, executives receive stock options that could prove lucrative if Ford's slumping shares rebound, The Detroit News reported. Chrysler Corp. made a similar request of senior executives after the 1998 merger with Daimler-Benz AG.

Ford declined to specify the financial terms of the agreements. The number of stock options executives receive in return for signing the pact depends on their positions.

Reliant Energy Inc. names new chief financial officer

Reliant Energy Inc., which has acknowledged inflating its revenue with phony energy trades and is under investigation by federal regulators, named a new chief financial officer yesterday.

The company said Mark M. Jacobs, managing director of Goldman Sachs & Co., an adviser to Reliant, will assume the CFO role for the parent company and its separately traded Reliant Resources Inc. energy-trading unit July 29.

Reliant said Jacobs will resign from Reliant Energy when the spinoff of Reliant Resources is completed. Reliant Energy owns 83 percent of Reliant Resources. Jacobs, who also becomes executive vice president, replaces Steve Naeve, who will continue as vice chairman of Reliant Energy until the spinoff.

RadioShack agrees to pay $30 million to settle suit

RadioShack Corp. said yesterday that it has agreed to pay about $30 million to settle a class action lawsuit that challenged the company for classifying some store managers in California as management to avoid paying them for overtime.

The lawsuit was filed in March 2000 by managers who claimed they were improperly classified.

In a separate case, Radio- Shack said it had negotiated a $27.7 million payment in its lawsuit against O'Sullivan Industries Holdings Inc. over a tax-sharing agreement. The retailer filed that lawsuit in 1999.

Norway will not renew contract with Microsoft

The Norwegian government has joined a growing number of countries in an apparent budding public sector revolt against Microsoft's market dominance.

The government says it will not renew a contract with the U.S. software giant, even though it means losing discounts of up to 20 percent on public sector purchases that amounted to roughly $27.8 million last year. The minister of labor and government administration said he wanted to make it easier for other companies to compete for public agency business.

Federal agencies in France, Germany, China, the United States and elsewhere have adopted Linux server software, mainly because it is less expensive and is promoted by many as more stable and less susceptible to viruses and hackers.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

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