Clayton Somers, who has been serving as N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore’s chief of staff, is joining UNC-Chapel Hill in a newly created position overseeing public affairs.
Somers started work Monday as vice chancellor of public affairs and secretary of the university, a position created with approval from the UNC Board of Governors. That board is appointed by legislative leaders, including Moore.
Somers will make an annual salary of $280,000 – a big raise from the $158,500 he earned when he joined the speaker’s office.
“I am pleased to add a highly skilled professional of Clayton Somers’ caliber to our senior leadership team,” UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said in a news release 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.”
The news release says Folt wanted to add the position in an effort to have “a more dedicated focus on state and federal relations issues” and that Somers will be “the primary liaison with the Board of Trustees.” Somers was selected after a national search.
Somers has been Moore’s top aide since he was elected House speaker in 2015. Before that, he led the N.C. Turnpike Authority and advised the N.C. High School Athletic Association as general counsel. He’s also been an attorney with several prominent Raleigh firms.
It’s unclear who will replace Somers as Moore’s chief of staff. A spokesman for Moore could not be immediately reached Monday afternoon.