Raleigh, N.C. — Clayton Somers, who spent two years as House Speaker Tim Moore's chief of staff, is heading the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to fill the new post of vice chancellor of public affairs and secretary of the university.
He started the new job Monday.
"The diverse range of Clayton's public affairs and business experience, combined with his unique knowledge of the General Assembly and state government, will be a tremendous asset as we assess the University’s future needs and vital role in serving North Carolinians," Chancellor Carol Folt said in a news release.
Somers will be charged with keeping tabs on the state and federal governments and how pending legislation could affect the school. He will also provide staff support to the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees.
As chief of staff to Moore, R-Cleveland, Somers helped manage the daily affairs of the state House and played a lead role in overseeing complex legislation, such as the state budget.
The UNC system and its individual institutions have a keen interest in the workings of the General Assembly. The state provides funding for the institutions and sets certain policies through legislation. Professors at UNC-Chapel Hill, such as Gene Nichol, have occasionally found themselves in conflict with the Republican-held legislature.
Somers, a lawyer, has worked for the North Carolina Turnpike Authority and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, as well as three Raleigh area law firms.