CHICAGO — In its first meeting after the consolidation of 10 state bond-issuing authorities into a single agency, the newly formed Michigan Finance Authority board approved a pair of transactions and acted on administrative matters.
Joe Fielek, director of the the state treasurer's bureau of bond finance, is the MFA's new executive director. The treasurer — who served as a member or chairman of all 10 predecessor authorities — is the MFA's chairman.
The authority will be in charge of all state borrowing, from student loans to revolving loan funds to general obligation debt.
Fielek said the MFA was not planning to issue a request for proposals for public finance firms interested in working with the state or revamping policies on use of underwriters, financial advisers or bond counsel.
The new authority will continue to work with the existing finance teams from previous agencies and issue RFPs occasionally under previous agencies' schedules, he said.
But it's likely the state will issue a new RFP next year under a new administration following the November election, Fielek added.
"We reserve the right to issue an RFP anytime, but for continuity purposes we're more or less going to function as we have been," Fielek said. "We want to provide as smooth a transition as possible to provide ongoing services. We'll fold new RFPs or rotate the current teams and bond counsel as we have been" with the previous agencies.
He added: "The new administration is probably going to want to take a look and maybe re-RFP things."
At its June 17 meeting, the MFA board crafted its bylaws and approved a roughly $26 million new-money and refunding transaction for Holland Hospital in west Michigan. It also considered a future bond tender transaction for the state student loan program, Fielek said.
The MFA's next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 26. The board expects to meet every other month through the end of the year, and thereafter on a quarterly basis.
The new board is made up of five directors appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm: Stephen Cassin, executive director of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development; MaryLee Davis, a professor at Michigan State University; Charlotte P. Edwards, assistant vice president and community development officer at Citizens Bank; Don Gilmer, former Kalamazoo County administrator and state budget director; and David S. Mittleman, partner at Church Wyble PC.
Granholm decided to consolidate the authorities in an effort to save money. The move was one of 29 government cuts crafted by the governor to "transform" Michigan government.
The MFA replaces the Michigan Forest Finance Authority, the Michigan Higher Education Facilities Authority, the Michigan Higher Education Assistance Authority, the Michigan Higher Education Student Loan Authority, the Michigan Municipal Bond Authority, the Michigan Public Educational Facilities Authority, the Michigan Tobacco Settlement Finance Authority, the Michigan Underground Storage Tank Financial Assurance Authority, the State Higher Education Facilities Commission, and the State Hospital Finance Authority.
The new authority also received the power of the Michigan Strategic Fund to finance public and private schools and the power of the State Land Bank Fast Track Authority to issue bonds and notes.
Granholm is coming to the end of her second term this year. The state primary will be held Aug. 3. Vying for the seat on the Democratic side are House Speaker Andy Dillon and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.
Republican challengers are state Attorney General Mike Cox, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder, Oakland County sheriff Mike Bouchard, and state Sen. George Tom.