Raymond A. Skinner has retired as secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Gov. Martin O’ Malley appointed Clarence J. Snuggs to serve as acting secretary, effective Sept. 1

Secretary Skinner, who held the agency’s top post since 2007, is credited with guiding DHCD to record achievements during one of the deepest economic downturns in the nation’s history.

“Ray’s experience, vision and genuine concern for working families made him an invaluable asset in establishing one of the most comprehensive, effective and far reaching responses to the foreclosure crisis in the country,” O’Malley said in a statement. “He fought for every home as if it was his own—our state is tremendously grateful for his efforts.”

As secretary, Skinner managed the state’s housing finance, asset management, community development, and building code programs.

He previously served as DHCD secretary from 1999 to 2003, during the administration of Governor Parris Glendening. Skinner is a trustee of the National Housing Conference and on the board of the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA). He previously served as president of the Council of State Community Development Agencies.

Under Skinner’s leadership, key initiatives were launched at DHCD, including Rental Housing Works, a gap financing program that expanded the state’s stock of affordable rental housing as the collapse of the national financial markets brought commercial lending to a virtual standstill.

In addition, projects launched through neighborhood revitalization initiatives such as Community Legacy and Sustainable Communities were recognized for their innovation by industry organizations such as NCSHA, the Council of State Community Development Agencies, and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.

“It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to work with the O’Malley-Brown administration to expand housing opportunities for the hardworking families of our state and to ensure that all citizens live in safe, opportunity-rich communities,” Skinner said.

Snuggs, who will serve as acting secretary, was appointed DHCD deputy secretary in 2007. Prior to that, he was director of Enterprise Community Partners’ Baltimore office; deputy executive director of NeighborWorks America; vice president for community lending for Maryland National Bank and Signet banks;s and deputy executive director and corporate treasurer for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. in Washington, D.C.