Preston confirmed as HUD secretary
Editor's note: This story was updated 3:25 p.m. June 6, 2008.
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Jun 05, 2008
President Bush today swore in Steve Preston, now former administrator of the Small Business Administration who was involved in many federal contracting initiatives, as secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department.
“Steve is a strong leader whose understanding of our financial markets and strong management skills make him highly qualified to serve in this important position,” Bush said Thursday. Preston was confirmed June 4.
Deputy Administrator Jovita Carranza is now SBA’s acting administrator, until White House officials name a permanent replacement.
Preston has made many reforms at SBA since he was sworn in as administrator in July 2006. A major initiative involved re-evaluating size standards for small businesses for federal contracts and set-aside programs. The last major overhaul of that magnitude was undertaken in the early 1980s, although SBA has reviewed individual industries, officials said.
During Preston’s tenure, SBA launched the Small Business Procurement Scorecard to grade agencies’ attempts to award a certain percentage of their contracting dollars to small businesses.
SBA is still working on a proposed acquisition rule intended to give woman-owned small businesses more opportunities in federal contracting. However, lawmakers and industry officials have criticized the rule because although it would allow agencies to set aside contracts for women business owners, it would limit those contracts to a few select industries, such as kitchen cabinet-making.
The Senate confirmed Preston by voice vote. He replaces Alphonso Jackson, who resigned as HUD secretary in March amid allegations of political favoritism in awarding contracts.
Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.