AUSTIN, Tex. - Apparently deadlocked, the Texas Bond Review Board on Friday postponed naming a new executive director until Jan. 4.
"It's the decision of the board to do some additional research at this time," said Dale Craymer, budget director for Gov. Ann Richards, who chaired the meeting Friday at which the five-member board was expected to select a new executive director.
Following the 30-minute closeddoor meeting, no member of the board would discuss which candidates were favored. However, sources in Austin said that two members of the board are said to be backing the selection of Texas Assistant Attorney General Jim Thomassen. At least three votes are needed for the board to make a decision.
The only other candidate identified by several sources as a finalist is Tom Adams, a budget aide to the governor who reportedly has Richards' support. Adams attended the meeting, but was not available for comment.
Thomassen, who attends the board's meetings regularly, declined to comment after the board failed to make a decision. In an earlier interview, he said he was interested in the job because it would allow him to focus on broad debt policy issues rather than the legal aspects of bond sales in Texas.
However, Craymer and others cautioned against ruling out any of the eight short-list candidates the board interviewed two weeks ago.
"It's still a very fluid process, but clearly there are some favorites," he said after the meeting. "It's our desire that it be a unanimous decision."
The board began searching for a new director after Tom Pollard resigned last month to move his family to New Mexico. Pollard was the only director the board has had since it was created in 1987 to oversee state-level debt issuance.
Also on Friday, the board authorized four state agencies to sell $354.4 million of general obligation bonds for purposes ranging from prisons to student loans. The new-money deals are expected to be sold in early 1993.
The board authorized the Texas Public Finance Authority to sell $65.44 million of state-backed GOs to repair existing facilities and design two new mental health centers in El Paso and Lubbock counties.
The serial bonds, to be sold competitively the week of Jan. 12, will be issued in maturities from 1993 to 2012. The debt is part of the state's $2 billion expansion of the Texas prison system.
Also approved were two issues totaling $160 million to be sold the same week by the Texas Veterans Land Board. The deals will be underwritten by a syndicate headed by First Boston Corp.
Proceeds from one of those issues, $125 million of debt, will be used to make home loans to qualified Texas veterans. The issue will have maturities through 2023 with a super-sinker term bond to be called from prepayment proceeds before any other term maturity. The super-sinker matures in 2012 with a mandatory semiannual redemption beginning in 2006, and another term matures in 2023 with mandatory redemption beginning in 2013.
The second issue, a $35 million authorization, was approved by the board in September but was stalled until January because of an increase in interest rates. A reauthorization was necessary because of the delay.
Although both issues are backed by the GO pledge of the state, the Veterans Land Board's bonds have historically been self-supporting from mortgage revenues.
The Texas Water Development Board was given authorization to sell five series of tax-exempt bonds totaling $52 million and a $2 million taxable issuer for various projects.
All the bonds are state GO debt, but most are self-supporting. However, two series of the bonds totaling $12 million to help fund projects in economically distressed areas will require general fund allocations beginning in fiscal 1994, when the issues will need $1.45 million to meet debt service.
The bonds, with a final maturity in 2015, are expected to be sold competitively the week of Jan. 21.
Finally, the review board also on Friday authorized a $75 million issue by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to fund student loans. The sale is the second installment from a $300 million authorization approved by voters last year. The agency will have $125 million of authorization remaining after a planned competitive sale the week of Jan. 21. The bonds will have a final maturity in 2017.
Like the other issues, the bonds are backed by the state's credit, but have traditionally been paid with revenues from the repayment of student loans.