DALLAS - Danny Burger, the longtime executive director of the Municipal Advisory Council of Texas and only the second person ever to have headed the 39-year-old state trade group, said he will retire on Nov. 1.
Burger, 61, said yesterday that he plans to retire after a career that began in 1956, two years after the council was created by Texas bond dealers to promote business standards and distribute information about the state's credits.
The decision to step down from a 17-year stint as executive director came after Burger received a liver transplant last year. "You develop a little different agenda and realize you're lucky to be here," he said.
The council has formed a committee to begin the search for a new executive director, with hopes of filling the position by Sept. 1.
"Danny has done a fantastic job, and he has been a tremendous asset to the MAC," said Robert Vanosky, executive vice president and co-manager of the fixed income department at Rauscher Pierce Refsnes Inc. in Dallas, who is heading the search.
Vanosky said the search committee for Burger's replacement has not yet determined its criteria for the next executive director. The committee includes: Jack Addams of Merrill Lynch & Co. in Dallas and the council's current chairman; Jerry Robinson of NationsBank Capital Markets in Dallas; and Ladd Pattillo, who heads his own advisory firm of the same name in Austin.
Vanosky said the committee is likely to seek someone to build on the council's tradition of providing timely information about Texas credits. The widely used Texas Municipal Report has become the hallmark of the trade group, which was created largely to fill an information void on issuers ranging from water districts to the state itself.
While those reports are now printed, Vanosky said the council expects to move toward electronic distribution of the financial information in the coming years.
But Vanosky does not expect the council to expand its legislative role. "I think the MAC will leave to its membership the job of being proactive on legislation," he said.
Burger agreed, saying the council has simply played the role of technical adviser on bills that affect government finance and bond issuance. But he did point out that in one of its more aggressive efforts, the council worked with bond dealers to make it possible for the state's massive Permanent School Fund to be used to guarantee local school debt. "That was a winner all around," he said.
Burger joined the council as an analyst under founding executive director Buck Tinsley, whom he succeeded in April 1976.
Before he headed the council, Burger spent nearly 20 years in other areas of the municipal bond business. From 1956 until 1963 he worked in the investments area of the American National Insurance Co. in Galveston, and from 1968 until 1976 he was development fund manager for the Texas Water Development Board, which loans money for water projects.
It was during Burger's tenure on that board that voters narrowly rejected a $3 billion general obligation bond proposal to canalize water from south of New Orleans to the High Plains area of West Texas. The issue remains the largest debt referendum ever to fail in Texas.
One of Burger's six children followed him into the municipal bond business. A daughter, Anne Burger Entrekin, is an investment banker in the San Antonio office of First Southwest Co. of Dallas.
Burger said that after he retires he will shift his attention to burros from bond dealers. He and his wife, Maxine, keep 17 of the miniature breed of donkey on their 60-acre site in the scenic Hill Country outside his native Austin.