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.