Shanahan stepping down as state public safety secretary

Posted July 26, 2013

— Kieran Shanahan, a former federal prosecutor who was tapped by Gov. Pat McCrory in December to serve as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, will resign his cabinet position effective Wednesday.

In a resignation letter hand-delivered Thursday to the governor, Shanahan cited his wife’s military career and his own business interests as reasons for his resignation. His wife, Tina Shanahan, is being promoted to rear admiral in the U.S. Navy Reserves and will be stationed in Portsmouth, Va.

“As we discussed when I accepted this position, the length of my tenure would be affected by both my wife’s Navy career and my ability to step away from my business interests, including my law firm,” he wrote. “This is a significant commitment and I want to be available to support her. In addition, stepping away from my business interests has proved to be more challenging than originally anticipated.”

Shanahan, a former four-term Raleigh councilman, founded the prominent Shanahan Law Group, which specializes in business litigation. He has come under scrutiny recently for continuing to give legal advice to clients after joining McCrory’s cabinet.

State employees are not forbidden from having second jobs, and Shanahan has filed paperwork with the state showing that he does outside work.

McCrory issued a statement Friday congratulating Tina Shanahan and wishing the family well.

“The department is stronger now than when Kieran started and we appreciate his service,” McCrory said. “I will continue to value Kieran’s friendship. He has been an important part of the team. I clearly understand his decision and appreciate the priorities he needs to focus on. I would also like to congratulate Tina Shanahan on her recent promotion to Admiral in the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Navy’s gain is North Carolina’s loss. It is a well-deserved promotion and I congratulate her and wish the Shanahan family well.”

As secretary of Public Safety, Shanahan heads a department of nearly 27,000 employees. He earns an annual salary of $135,000.

In the release from the governor’s office, Shanahan said he was honored to have served the state and specifically cited the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools among his accomplishments. The center launched in March with the goal of examining the best school security programs nationwide to determine which fit best in school districts across the state.

“I’m also very proud of Tina,” Shanahan said. “She has always strongly supported my career, most recently being very tolerant of the long hours that come with managing DPS, and now it is my turn to support her. I’m so proud to know there is an admiral in the family.”

During a news conference Friday afternoon, McCrory reiterated that Shanahan's resignation was the result of a "joint dialogue," and the timing was based on the end of the legislative session.

Along with Shanahan, Public Safety Chief Operating Officer Edward "Sonny" Masso resigned Thursday, effective immediately. A reason for his resignation was not disclosed.


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  • Seabass Jul 28, 2013

    disgusted2010...post the facts rather than conjecture. Per the Navy website his wife has not yet been promoted. Secondly, his number 2 was never her boss. He was a line officer and she is a staff officer. Two very separate chains of command.

  • Seabass Jul 28, 2013

    disgusted2010: Wrong again!! According to the Navy website, his wife has NOT yet been promoted...she has only been selected. His number 2 was never her boss in the Navy. He was a line officer and she is a staff officer. Not the same chain of command. Don't talk about things you know nothing about.

  • Cautious Jul 27, 2013

    Since the timing was a result of "joint dialogue" and the end of the legislative session, then why has so much money been spent plastering his name/picture all over DPS in signage, brochures, stationary, etc? Seems like a total waste of tax-payers money for something that has apparently been in the works...

  • comitatus1 Jul 26, 2013

    "Was he involved in allowing guns in bars? The GOP makes me want to drink but now I have to go to bars out of state. No way I drink with the thought someone could be drinking and carrying. Look at the way people drive! Thank God for Netflix. wheelofvoter"

    Seriously? How many times must it be pointed out that Concealed Carry Permit holders are not allowed to drink AT ALL if they are carrying their weapons? Which means, of course, that they will not be drinking in a bar if they have their weapon on them. Get it? Sheesh.

  • thechristinakimsucks Jul 26, 2013

    Something tells me 6 months is plenty long enough to quality for a pretty sweet benefits package courtesy of the state and our wonderful governor. Can't help but wonder who will be the next good old boy to receive the next state parachute. Not that any of them really need it but just consider it large pocket money.

  • disgusted2010 Jul 26, 2013

    His wife was promoted some time back. She is in the reserves. His number two, who was his wife's former boss in the Navy, abruptly resigns. Two and two do not add up here. If there were any REAL investigative reporters at WRAL or the N*O the truth would come to light. Its not like they don't know the truth.

  • monami Jul 26, 2013

    "For my liberal friends, this is not necessarily reason for celebration. He may not be your worst nightmare by any means, he is somewhat more moderate, or at least pragmatic than most R's in McCrory's cabinet."

    Like I said, what wouldn't he do?? Maybe there was some integrity there that got him the boot.

  • scuse2 Jul 26, 2013

    But I thought he, and everyone else in the cabinet, just got a big raise from McCrory while state workers got shafted again

  • nic Jul 26, 2013

    He's done a good job. We were luck to have him. Thanks for your service.

  • goldenosprey Jul 26, 2013

    "In addition, stepping away from my business interests has proved to be more challenging than originally anticipated.” from the article

    What's wrong with this guy? I thought the point of being in the administration was to further one's business interest. (*cough Variety Wholesalers*cough*fracking)