Clayton Somers started his new job as the vice chancellor of public affairs and secretary of the university at UNC on Monday.
Somers has been serving as the chief of staff for North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore.
The UNC System Board of Governors approved the creation of the new position in August and the hire of Somers was approved by the UNC – Chapel Hill Board of Trustees. Somers will now report directly to Chancellor Carol Folt.
“I am pleased to add a highly skilled professional of Clayton Somers’ caliber to our senior leadership team,” Folt said in a release on Monday announcing the hire. “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. He also brings an important perspective to our relationship with the federal government, which supports and shapes the vast majority of the faculty’s life-changing research – a nearly $1 billion annual enterprise.”
Folt wrote when advocating for the position that the addition would allow the university to monitor and advocate “for opportunities across state and federal resources for critical university programs.”
Joel Curran had been serving as the vice chancellor for communications and public affairs at UNC since that position was created in 2013. Folt wrote that the new position was necessary after she tasked Curran with overseeing the high volume of public record requests that followed the Wainstein Report into the paper-class scandal at UNC.
Somers also previously worked with the North Carolina Turnpike Authority and worked for several large law firms in Raleigh.
Somers graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UNC in 1993 before earning a law degree from Wake Forest.
Somers made more than $158,000 per year when he began his tenure as Moore’s Chief of Staff. The new position at UNC had a salary range of $171,026 to $342,052. The News & Observer is reporting Somers will be paid $280,000 per year at UNC.