Haley picks deputy attorney general to lead staff

  • Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 8:11 a.m.

COLUMBIA — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Tuesday named a deputy attorney general as her new chief of staff.

Bryan Stirling will move into his new role Oct. 15, Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey told The Associated Press. Stirling will replace current chief of staff Tim Pearson, who is returning to Haley’s campaign to lead the Republican governor’s possible run for a second term.

Haley reiterated Tuesday that she has not yet decided whether she’ll seek re-election in 2014, noting she’s been in office less than two years. But “consultants want to keep the trains moving” in anticipation of that decision, she said.

Haley noted Stirling has both state and federal experience. He is certified to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, and federal and state courts in South Carolina.

“Bryan has the experience, relationships and leadership qualities that will make the transition seamless and ensure our administration continues to deliver results,” Haley said.

Stirling, 42, has been a deputy attorney general since January 2007 after spending a decade in private practice.

His duties in the attorney general’s office have included budget issues and liaison to the Legislature. The University of South Carolina Law School graduate worked for the state GOP and House and Senate Republican caucuses during the 1996 election season.

Former Attorney General Henry McMaster first worked with Stirling as state GOP chairman, then in private practice, before Stirling joined his public office’s executive team.

“He’s still young but enormously experienced in different parts of the arena, and that’s one reason he’ll be such a help to Gov. Haley,” said McMaster, who called Stirling “very much a dedicated South Carolinian. He’s done an excellent job in every job he’s held.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina, Stirling worked as a special assistant to former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card in 1991 and 1992, when Card was transportation secretary for President George H.W. Bush.

Besides USC graduates, both Card and Stirling are Massachusetts natives.

“He’s ethical. He’s very hard-working. He keeps his word. I know he’s very respectful,” Card said, noting they’ve kept in touch over the last 20 years. “He paid attention to what he had to do. He became a very trusted aide.”

Stirling’s salary will be $128,750, the same as Pearson’s, Godfrey said. That’s nearly $21,400 more than his current salary.

“It’s been an honor to serve two attorney generals, I look forward to joining Gov. Haley’s team, and I’m excited about the opportunity that lies ahead,” Stirling said.

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