Raleigh, N.C. — 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.