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Friday, April 19, 2019
HomePolitics and PolicyNew commissioner of Administration: Kelly Tshibaka

New commissioner of Administration: Kelly Tshibaka

Harvard Law School graduate. Former chief data officer for the United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General. U.S. Department of Justice counsel. Counsel and chief investigator for the Office of Inspector General. Ordained pastor and church planter. Leader of bible study groups. Mother of five. Wife. Descendant of Oregon Trail settlers. Raised in Alaska. Graduate of Steller Secondary School.

That’s it in a nutshell. Now, Kelly Tshibaka is the new commissioner of the Department of Administration for the State of Alaska.

Tshibaka was named today to the post by Gov. Michael Dunleavy. Her name is not a household word in Alaska. But she was raised in Alaska before heading off to college and a career in government service.

“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,” said Gov. Michael Dunleavy. “Her resume speaks for itself – a born and raised Alaskan, a stellar background and education, and work experience tested at the highest levels of the federal government. My message from the start has been government can and should be managed better, more efficiently, and with far greater outcomes. Kelly has succeeded in these areas in the past and we are confident the Legislature will concur that she is eminently qualified for this position. We welcome Kelly back to Alaska.”

In 2015, Tshibaka was appointed chief data officer at the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, where data analytics has resulted in more than $920 million in financial impact or audit findings in 2016.

Before that she served as the Acting Inspector General of the Federal Trade Commission and in the Office of the Director for National Intelligence, where she conducted civil liberties and privacy oversight and was counsel to the Inspector General. Earlier, she was special assistant to the Department of Justice Inspector General, conducting sensitive investigations; overseeing audits, investigations, and inspections; and assisting in managing employees nationwide.

At the Postal Service, she tracked down fraud, waste, and abuse. Her data analytics team helped auditors recover $121 million in fines and restitution for fraudulent billings to the Postal Service, and avoid making more than $110 million in payments on improper billings.

The Department of Administration provides centralized administrative services to state agencies in matters of finance, personnel, labor relations, leasing of space, central mail distribution, property management, risk management, procurement, retirement and benefits programs, information and telecommunication systems. It operates and maintains 18 state-owned buildings in Juneau, Anchorage, Nome, Palmer and Fairbanks.

The Department of Administration also provides indigent defense and children’s advocacy through the Public Defender Agency and the Office of Public Advocacy, and vehicle registration and driver licensing through the Division of Motor Vehicles, as well as a host of other services. The department has administrative responsibilities for the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Alaska Public Broadcasting, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Tshibaka was tapped to round out the governor’s core team of senior policy advisors – focusing primarily on areas of management, audit and government efficiency. When the Department of Administration vacancy occurred upon the departure of John Quick, the governor asked her to step into that role.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Kudos to Gov. Dunleavy for a great pick to work the Administration program area he needs done for this state.

    • Dunleavy is reaching out for diversity. Niki Tshibaka is Black and Kelly Tshibaka is White and they are both Lighthouse Fellowship pastors. They also have five children. Kelly’s husband will take a newly created job as assistant Commissioner of Education. Dermot Cole’s article in the Fairbanks News Miner implies that these new hires bring some strong Pentecostal beliefs to Dunleavy’s administration since both are Pastors. That could mean no teaching of evolution in public schools, banning LGBTQ behavior in public schools, and state funding for Christian private schools. That would be interesting. I think, Dermot, planted the seeds of dissent for these new hires. Our local LGBTQ community in Fairbanks will surely be fired up with this. But hiring this couple from out of state and paying them $280,000 a year galls me. Dunleavy is getting off to a bad start again. But then again, they look like the ideal pair and a beautiful family. They will be an asset to Alaska.

  • Wow! Incredible!!!

  • Kudo’s to both the Governor for such and incredible appointment and Kelly Tshibaka for the Public Service she will perform for our state.

  • Wait ‘till Ms. Tshibaka sees how we do things in Alaska. DOA May challenge her coping skills without the likes of Art Chance to point out pitfalls…

    Good luck!

    • Is Art Chance the boogeyman to all you Lefties? Hope so, b/c we kind of like Art around here.

  • Hope this one works out. Is it just me who thinks Dunleavy needs to spend a few bucks on a communication team? From the inauguration no one saw, forgettable state of the state speech, embarrassing appointments, 20 million dollar shock to school districts. He needs someone to mitigate all of the bad headlines. Disappointing to say the least. And I voted for the him.

  • Baloney. Gov. Dunleavy is off to a fine start. Pick all the nits you want to but don’t stand on the railroad tracks or you will be mowed down after the House figures out why they are in Juneau in January.

    • Mowed down by a lack of leadership or clear mandate. The dumpster is smoking.

  • So she is an elitist, Harvard lawyer!!

    • What makes you say that? Because she was educated at Harvard=elitist? That makes it so? Had she gone to UAA what would your comment have been? Just curious….

    • Far from it, Gail !!! Kelly earned her undergrad degree at Texas A & M, with Eastern Oregon roots. She is an amazing person and one of my favorite conservatives. I am proud to know her!

    • About time we got somebody elite, not mediocre, well connected, very good at what she does…

  • The Governor doesn’t need to explain a thing. These things weed themselves out in every administration. They are happening early in this one, thank God! It is super sucky when it happens mid stream, or let’s say, right at the end of an administration, and right before an election *cough cough*. This tiring $$$$$$ school district funding argument is a non argument. There is absolutely nothing to argue. The State has been throwing money at a problem that has become a bigger problem with absolutely zero results and all the teachers union wants is more money. I’d like to know what hiring a communications team would do? It would create more fodder for the left to bash him on spending money on additional staff and would it change your mind? What would it mitigate? He needs to forge ahead and keep the promises he campaigned on. Slicing the spending is one of those things.

    • Yeah, the first step was to create a deputy commissioner spot for her husband at Education for an as yet unspecified amount of money. Sure glad we have the money to pay carpetbaggers $300k a year to set up house in Alaska.

      And your teacher line is broken. Their pay hasn’t kept up with inflation for 40 years. They fall below 50% nationwide when adjusted for cost of living.

      But keep making us look stupid with that dead talking point.

    • We need to slash the spending on the University System and break up the three major schools campuses of UAF, UAA and UAS. The programs have become totally messed up and too much money from the state has been put to the University system with poor results. Salaries and especially that of the President need to be reviewed and slashed. The UA Pres. raises tuition and fees too much. We are losing our Alaskan students to other universities and schools. His spending and decisions are way out of control.

  • The Bain Capitol school of State governance. Strip everything down and sell the pieces. You don’t need PR for that, just ham-handed ushers to show everyone to the exits.

  • Finally somebody who isn’t from Wasilla.

  • This can’t end well for Alaska’s very own Deep State.

    • Exactly what I was thinking …. but it could bode very well for Alaskans who aren’t on the take. BRAVO Governor Dunleavy.