New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority head eyes P3 opportunities

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The New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority has tapped a veteran municipal law attorney to lead the 52-year-old higher education conduit bond issuer with an increased focus on public-private partnerships.

The NJEFA appointed Eric D. Brophy as executive director and secretary this month to replace Sheryl A. Stitt, who held the position in an acting capacity for the past 13 months following the retirement of Jeremy Spector. Brophy spent the past 11 years as a partner at Diegnan & Brophy, representing municipalities in governance matters. New legislation signed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy last month authorized NJEFA to enter into P3s with private entities next year.
“The challenge is the newness for us with the P3 legislation and getting the regulations in place and education piece of it with the schools,” said Brophy, who assumed the NJEFA leadership role on Sept. 10. “I’m really excited to be coming on board at this time.”

The NJEFA is now permitted under the new P3 law to provide financing for private and other not-for-profit entities involved in the development of academic and other auxiliary facilities on campuses across New Jersey. Brophy said he is also looking to revive the Authority’s tax-exempt leasing program and collaborate with the state’s libraries on a new grant program during his first year at the helm.

“I plan to be as proactive as I can,” said Brophy, who prior to being a partner in his own law firm was an attorney at St. John & Wayne from 2004 to 2007, working largely on municipal and creditor issues. “My calendar is already booked for the next six months meeting with institution presidents and financing professionals.”

The NJEFA has completed 515 transactions totaling nearly $18 billion with zero defaults since its founding in 1966. The conduit issuer had a record setting year in 2017 aided largely by refunding volume with $1.42 billion of bonds sold in 10 transactions. It hasn’t come to market yet in 2018.

“Under Eric’s leadership, the Authority will be well positioned to bring new financing solutions to help our institutions meet the continuing challenge of financing capital facilities,” said NJEFA Chairman Joshua Hodes.

Brophy earned a Juris Doctor at Seton Hall University School of Law and completed a Masters in Public Administration Certificate Program at Rutgers University. He received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at the University of Scranton.

The appointment of Brophy, which was approved at a special meeting on Sept. 6, makes him the NJEFA’s third permanent executive director in a four-year period. Brophy, who recently closed his law practice, said he hopes for a lengthy run helping New Jersey’s public and private higher education institutions obtain low-cost financing.

“The Authority is about to embark on an exciting new chapter in its history,” he said. “We are committed to continuing to provide the highest level of service to our clients. Our goal over the coming months and years is to develop and launch new initiatives that further the Authority’s mission to support New Jersey’s world class higher education institutions and to help our clients provide opportunities to build New Jersey’s future by meeting their capital needs.”

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Higher education bonds Public-private partnership New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority New Jersey
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