The long-time director of the legislature's bill drafting division is changing jobs and will move to the newly created position of special counsel next month.
Gerry Cohen has been a legislative staffer for 35 years, and has run bill drafting for 31 years. In addition to his official duties, Cohen is the go-to man for answers to obscure questoins on General Assembly history and how things work.
Update: Asked why the legislature is adding a position in a time of tight budgets, spokespeople for legislative leaders referred to this prepared statement.
"There is no one in the state of North Carolina who understands the legislative process better than Gerry Cohen," House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger said. "Gerry has been invaluable to the General Assembly for more than three decades, and we are grateful he will continue to share his many talents in an important new capacity."
The legislature is beginning a nationwide search for a new bill drafting director who will supervise a team of more than 40 people. Cohen starts his new job in September.
The legislature has plenty of lawyers on staff, and Tillis, Berger, and Senate minority leader Martin Nesbitt each have lawyers working for them.
Cohen said in an interview that there's enough work to go around, and he's looking forward to new responsibilities.
"It's an opportunity to concentrate on research, drafting and policy as opposed to management responsibilities," he said.
Cohen received batchelor's, master's and law degrees from UNC Chapel Hill, as well as a graduate certificate in technology and communication.
Correction: changes title