Dunleavy pick to lead Department of Administration is former federal official

JUNEAU — Days after his first choice withdrew from consideration, Gov. Mike Dunleavy has named a former federal inspector general to lead the Department of Administration.

Kelly Tshibaka most recently served as chief data officer and assistant inspector general in the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and also was acting inspector general for the Federal Trade Commission under the Obama administration, according to her resumé.

The governor’s choice was announced Thursday morning, two days after the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development announced it had hired Tshibaka’s husband in a new position created specifically for him.

The administration did not release salary information for either position.

“We are excited Kelly has accepted this role to help refocus and reprioritize areas of management, operations and government efficiencies within the Department of Administration,” Dunleavy said in a prepared statement.

On Tuesday, the state department of education had announced the hiring of Niki Tshibaka in a newly created deputy commissioner job within the department of education. Niki Tshibaka’s job will “coordinate the efforts of multiple state departments to address safety and well-being issues,” according to the announcement of his hiring.

Kelly Tshibaka, the Department of Administration chief, was born and raised in Alaska and attended Steller Secondary School in Anchorage, according to the governor’s statement. She attended Texas A&M University and went on to Harvard Law School, graduating with a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in June 2002, according to her resumé.

She worked in the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, then as a special adviser for civil liberties and privacy for the director of National Intelligence, according to her resumé.

Tshibaka is married to Niki Tshibaka, and they have five children. The Tshibakas are pastors and in Washington, D.C., started the Lighthouse Fellowship, whose stated mission is to “develop Christian leaders.”

According to the governor’s office, Tshibaka was originally hired to serve as a senior policy adviser but was chosen to lead the Department of Administration after Jonathan Quick withdrew his name for consideration.

Quick resigned less than one week ago after one of his former employers said he lied on his resumé and to lawmakers in a confirmation hearing.

Quick was one of three new hires or appointees by the administration who have withdrawn their names for positions after a review of their backgrounds uncovered issues.

In response to a question about vetting Tshibaka’s background, Dunleavy press secretary Matt Shuckerow said, “We believe Kelly’s work history, experience and background working for the government at the high levels will help expedite her confirmation process. Furthermore, she currently has an active Top Secret with Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS-SCI) Clearance.”

James Brooks

James Brooks was a Juneau-based reporter for the ADN from 2018 to May 2022.