As a boss, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore is a real Scrooge. You can see it in the salary history of his former chief of staff, Clayton Somers.
Moore paid a Somers a paltry $158,500 annually, but when Somers moved on in January to become a high-level administrator at UNC-Chapel Hill, his pay rose to $280,000. Indeed, Somers’ value became so quickly apparent to UNC Chancellor Carol Folt that he received two $25,000 raises in one month – on June 1 and June 30 – after working for just six months.
Now as vice chancellor of public affairs and secretary to the university, Somers makes $331,448. He’s free at last from the House speaker’s sweatshop.
Some other state employees may not see it that way. Most of them got a $1,000 raise last year after years of flat pay.
But most other state employees don’t have a direct line to the House speaker. Folt, skittish about upsetting legislative leaders who control the university’ state funding, no doubt values having the House speaker’s former top aide handsomely employed on her staff as her liaison to the legislature.
It appears Somers’ already impressive pay was rapidly bumped up by $50,000 to avoid a new policy monitoring raises that was about to take effect on July 1. The new policy, part of the state budget, requires that all raises greater than 5 percent for employees making more than $100,000 be reviewed by the university’s Board of Governors.
In any case, the pay scenario looks bad. Legislators ought not be pushing their staff on the university and university officials ought not hire them to curry favor with the ones who control their state funding.