Like everything else about Kieran Shanahan’s foray back into public service, his leaving it stinks. Not that he left. But the sorry excuse for leaving and the governor’s denial that anything was amiss.

Shananhan’s resignation came on the same day that his chief operating officer, Edward “Sonny” Masso stepped down with no explanation, leaving one of the larger organizations in state government leaderless. Masso resigned immediately and Shanahan’s resignation is effective July 31, otherwise known as Wednesday. If it’s really just his business interests and wife’s navy career, why can’t he wait for a replacement?

And speaking of replacements, why doesn’t McCrory have anybody waiting in the wings? He says DPS will be led by a team of deputies. He should have qualified people prepared to take over the agency charged with keeping the public safe from criminals. He also shouldn’t have been surprised as the rest of us.

No, the whole thing smells of scandal. The rumors swirling around Raleigh include everything from skirt-chasing to helicopter rides. McCrory, though, has assured us that there’s nothing behind the curtain. He better hope so because if anything comes to light, he’s lying again.

McCrory insists that Shanahan’s “business activities” took up more time than he expected. Let’s get the semantics of this excuse straight. Shanahan knew how much time the “business activities” took before he was appointed. So being head of DPS, not “business activities,” took up more time than Shanahan expected. Obviously, he saw running a $2 billion, 26,000 person operation as a part-time endeavor.

So now we get into McCrory’s vetting process. Why would he appoint a guy who has so much on his plate? Surely there are plenty of other qualified Republicans who would put public service ahead of personal profit for a few years to run such a department. Or even the more cynical view of a few qualified people who would serve as head of DPS because of the long term potential for lobbying contracts. Regardless, couldn’t they find somebody who would make serving as Secretary of Public Safety a priority instead of a sideline?

The whole episode smells. For McCrory, he better hope reporters don’t find anything else. Unfortunately for him, the legislature, which was holding the media’s attention, has gone home (thank God) and they’ll be looking for something else to chase. I have a feeling they may have found it and, this time, the scandal will be the cover up.

Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >

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