May 28, 2013
Small business journalist Cat Clifford questions why we still don’t have a nominee for SBA Administrator after Karen Mills resigned last February.
The wait is frustrating to Bob Coleman, editor of the Coleman Report, a SBA-lending industry newsletter. “It’s embarrassing,” Coleman says. “The one issue that is bipartisan in Washington is small business. Both sides of the aisle played it up during the campaign, both sides of the aisle professed their support of small business, and here we have a situation where you have a vacancy in a very powerful, bully-pulpit position.”
The role became a cabinet-level position in 2011 when Obama also proposed merging all the federal commerce-related agencies into one. To be sure, it is not the only cabinet chair as yet unfilled. Other notable vacancies include a leader of the U.S. Department of Commerce, though Chicago billionaire and Hyatt Hotel heiress Penny Pritzker seems to be on her way towards securing the spot, and for the Department of Transportation, though a recent Senate confirmation hearing for Mayor Anthony Foxx of Charlotte, N.C., went smoothly for that position.
“This is typical Washington,” says Ami Kassar CEO of MultiFunding, a small-business lending consulting firm in Broad Axe, Pa., in an email. “It’s ironic that it was such a big deal to make the SBA head a cabinet appointee in an election year, and then when the theatrics are over, to take months to appoint a new one.”