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Commission Member Profiles

Jane F. Finch

Chair
Appointed by: Governor
Term: 1/1/2012 - 12/31/2019

Jane Flowers Finch was appointed chair of the Ethics Commission by Governor Roy A. Cooper, III on February 7, 2017. She was appointed to the Commission by Governor Michael Easley on January 1, 2007 for an initial one-year term to the State Ethics Commission. She was subsequently reappointed to two four-year terms on the Ethics Commission, first by Governor Beverly Perdue and then by Governor Patrick McCrory. Ms. Finch was appointed to the Board of Ethics (which preceded the State Ethics Commission) by Governor Hunt in 1993, was elected vice chairman, and continued to serve on the Board of Ethics until she was appointed to the Ethic's Commission in 2007.

Ms. Finch graduated from Peace College (1973), UNC at Greensboro (1975), and North Carolina Central University School of Law (1978). After clerking on the NC Court of Appeals for the Honorable Harry C. Martin, she entered private practice, concentrating in civil litigation, personal injury, medical malpractice, business, real estate and insurance related litigation in state and federal courts. She became a partner with the law firm of Moore, Ragsdale, Liggett, Ray and Foley (the former and late Governor Dan K. Moore) in Raleigh, NC, which subsequently merged with the New York law firm, LeBouef, Lamb, Leiby and MacRae. After leaving the firm, she continued in private practice, handling both mediation and arbitration cases. She was of counsel with the law firm, Smith, Debnam, Narron, Wyche, Story and Myers, P.A. from 1999 to 2001. She holds an AV preeminent peer reviewed rating from Martindale Hubbell.

She is admitted to practice in North Carolina, the United States District Courts for the Eastern (1978), Middle (1986) and Western (1988) Districts of North Carolina; United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1985); and the Supreme Court of the United States (1987).

Ms. Finch has been active in many civic and charitable organizations. She has previously served as a member of the Board of Visitors for NCCU School of Law, the Board of Visitors for Peace College, Young Advisory Council for the Capitol City Club, Board of Directors for the Carolina Ballet, Board of Directors for the Hayes Barton Baptist Pre-School, Board of Directors for the 10th Judicial District Bar, Grievance Committee of the 10th Judicial District Bar, the Junior League of Raleigh, the National Charity League.

Ms. Finch resides in Raleigh with her husband, Ashley H. Story. They are the proud parents of three children and two grandchildren.

John E. Branch, III

Appointed by: Governor
Term: 12/29/2016 – 12/31/2017

John E. Branch, III's practice focuses on business litigation, business, and employment law.

John represents clients in complex business disputes involving sophisticated contracts, shareholders and LLC members, fraud, unfair competition, defamation, and other business-related issues. He also both counsels and advocates for clients in all aspects of employment law, including preparation of complicated employment, separation, and non-compete agreements on behalf of both businesses and executives, preparation of internal corporate employment documents, and representation in disputes involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, and other federal, state, and local employment statutes and regulations. John routinely represents clients in the North Carolina Business Court and in all three Federal District Courts in the State of North Carolina. He has also appeared before the Supreme Court of North Carolina, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

John has been recognized by North Carolina Super Lawyers every year since 2010 including as a “Super Lawyer” in 2015 and 2016 and as a “Rising Star” for 2010-2014. He was also recognized as a “Leader in the Law” by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly in 2012.

In 2016, John was appointed to serve as the Chairman of the North Carolina Ethics Commission by Governor Pat McCrory. John also serves as a Council Member for the North Carolina Bar Association’s Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section and has been active in various chapters of the Federalist Society since he attended law school. John was a member of the Greater Raleigh Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Raleigh Class 28 and served on the City of Raleigh Historic Development Commission.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, John moved to Smithfield, North Carolina where he graduated high school. John completed his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001, where he was a William R. Davie Scholar. In 2004, John received his Juris Doctorate for the UNC School of Law. While attending law school, he served as the Symposium Editor and a member of the North Carolina Law Review. After graduating from law school, John served as a law clerk to the Honorable Glen M. Williams, Senior United States District Judge for the Western District of Virginia. Prior to joining Shanahan Law Group in 2007, John was an associate at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak, & Stewart, PC, a national law firm, concentrating in the area of labor and employment law.

William P. Farthing, Jr.

Appointed by: Governor
Term: 1/1/2014 – 12/13/2017

William P. Farthing, Jr. was appointed by the Governor on January 1, 2014, to a term expiring in 2017. Mr. Farthing is currently Retired Of Counsel in the Parker Poe law firm after having served as a partner for over forty years. Parker Poe has five offices and over 200 lawyers throughout the Carolinas. He has more than thirty-five years of experience in law firm leadership and regulatory and employment counseling and litigation He served on Parker Poe’s Board of Directors for more than twenty years and was the Firm’s Chairman and Managing Partner from 2002-2012. During Mr. Farthing’s decade as Chairman and Managing Partner, Parker Poe experienced the fastest growth in its history. Prior to serving as Managing Partner, he was the founder of and a partner in the Firm’s Employment & Benefits Practice Group, where he defended numerous employers in disputes ranging from executive terminations to discrimination and harassment cases. He has represented manufacturers, retailers, universities and transportation companies in various litigation matters throughout his legal career.

Today, Mr. Farthing, who holds an AV Preeminent peer reviewed rating from Martindale Hubbell, is significantly involved in state and local community affairs. He is a current board member of several leading area nonprofits, including the Arts & Science Council, where he serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, and Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont, where he serves as President and Chairman of the Board. Mr. Farthing led the successful Arts & Science Council 2015 Capital Campaign. He is former Chair of the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Committee on Diversity & Inclusion. He serves as University Attorney for Johnson C. Smith University, and has served as a Board member or as University Attorney for that University for more than twenty years. He was also recently appointed by Chief Justice Mark Martin to serve on the Chief Justice’s Commission on Access to Justice. Mr. Farthing was recently awarded the 2014 Kennedy Award by Elon Homes and Schools for Children for his community involvement benefiting Elon Homes. He also serves on the Board of Visitors of Queens University in Charlotte.

Mr. Farthing earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1974), where he served on the Law Review; and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1970), where he was a Morehead Scholar. He is admitted to practice in North Carolina and holds the following court admissions: United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (1974); United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, (1989); and the Supreme Court of the United States (2007).

He is married to Linda McFarland Farthing, and resides in Charlotte. They are the proud parents of two children and five grandchildren.


Tommy D. McKnight

Appointed by: General Assembly, upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House
Term: 12/18/2014 - 12/31/2018

Tommy D. McKnight was appointed by Speaker of the House Thom Tillis on December 18, 2014, to a term expiring December 31, 2018. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University where he received BS and MA degrees in English and Education. He is also a graduate of the State’s Public Manager Program. Mr. McKnight is a retired State Employee from the N.C. Department of Commerce, Division of Workforce Solutions. He was the Manager of the Roanoke Rapids Office of the Division of Workforce Solutions, formerly the Employment Security Commission (ESC) from 1986 to 2014, which delivered employment, unemployment insurance, and labor market information services to the citizens of Halifax and Northampton Counties. During his tenure as an ESC Manager, his office twice won the ESC John B. Fleming Award for excellence in service delivery.

Prior to that, he served as the Assistant Manager and Placement Supervisor of the Greenville ESC (1984-1986); a Rural Manpower Representative with the Williamston ESC (1982-1984); an Employment Interviewer with the Williamston ESC (1980-1982); and as a high school English teacher from 1976-1980. He is currently a member of the Roanoke Rapids Rotary Club, where he has twice served as Club President. He is a member of Rosemary United Methodist Church where he teaches the Men’s Bible Class and is a member of the Methodist Men’s Club. He has served as a member of the Turning Point Workforce Development Board and as a member of the State Employees’ Credit Union Advisory Board. He served two terms on the Employment Security Commission Chairman’s Manager Advisory Council. He is married to Debra Taylor McKnight, a retired teacher. He and his wife have two sons and one granddaughter.

Robert L. Moseley, Jr.

Appointed by: General Assembly, upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House
Term: 12/31/2014 - 12/31/2020

Robert L. Moseley, Jr. was appointed by Speaker of the House Thom Tillis on December 31, 2014, to a term expiring December 31, 2016. Mr. Moseley received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing from East Tennessee State University in 1980. He is a Real Estate Broker associated with Carolina Property Group, Inc., specializing in commercial real estate. Mr. Moseley has extensive experience, both as a real estate developer and entrepreneur.

After graduation, he joined Plaza Associates, a real estate development firm based in Chapel Hill. He was assigned to open, lease and manage a shopping mall in Richlands, Virginia, with subsequent assignments in St Louis, Missouri and Odessa, Texas. Mr. Moseley joined Maurin-Ogden, a shopping center development firm based in New Orleans, Louisiana and served as Vice President of Development for seven years. He returned to North Carolina to serve as Vice President of Development for Capital Centre Development, a regional shopping center developer based in Raleigh. In 1992, Mr. Moseley founded and operated Books Plus, Inc. a retail promotional book operation. In 1995, he founded and operated a direct marketing and printing firm in Raleigh which he sold in 2011. In 2008, Mr. Moseley founded a web based photo products company which he sold in 2011. He and his wife Rhonda and son reside in Raleigh, with a grown daughter in Wilmington. They are longtime members of Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh and are active in missions work.

Clarence G. Newsome

Appointed by: General Assembly, upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Term: 1/01/2011 - 12/31/2018

Clarence G. Newsome was appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Senate President Pro Tempore on January 23, 2007. His term expired on December 31, 2010 and he was reappointed to another term expiring on December 31, 2014. Dr. Newsome received his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Divinity, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Duke University, where he continues to serve on the Board of Trustees. He most recently served as President of Shaw University in Raleigh. Prior to that, Dr. Newsome served at the Howard University School of Divinity for 17 years, rising to Dean. He is active in numerous academic and community activities including serving as General Editor of the Directory of African American Religious Bodies, Volume 2. Past honors include the Distinguished Service in Education Award from the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., in 2000, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Duke Divinity School in 2001.

Patrick Roberts

Appointed by: Governor
Term: 1/28/2016 - 12/31/2019

Patrick Roberts was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory on January 28, 2016, to a term expiring on December 31, 2019. He is the founding attorney of Roberts Law Group, PLLC, a criminal defense law firm with offices in Raleigh, Wilmington and Charlotte. He served as an Assistant County Attorney in three North Carolina jurisdictions before dedicating his practice to defending those accused of state and federal crimes throughout North Carolina, including drunk driving/DWI, drug charges, sex offenses, white collar crimes, domestic violence and other misdemeanor and felony charges. Mr. Roberts is a graduate of the Duke University School of Law. He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Daniel J. (Dan) Zeller

Appointed by: General Assembly, upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Term: 5/21/2015 - 12/31/2020

Daniel J. Zeller received a degree in Political Science at Brigham Young University in 1980 and did graduate work in Public Administration on a fellowship at The University of Connecticut. He became a partner with his father in Zeller Insurance Services Inc. in Portland, Oregon in 1981. In 1985, he began a corporate career path with Nationwide Insurance Companies starting in Vermont and working throughout the New England States. He transferred to North Carolina in 1988 and now operates his own agencies in Reidsville and Eden, NC.

He has earned several National Achievement Awards as an agent and as a manager over the thirty years he has worked with the companies. He has earned the Accredited Advisor of Insurance (AAI) designation as well as The Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designations. Daniel has taught insurance and insurance ethics courses in North and South Carolina and he is a court recognized expert in insurance in North Carolina.

Daniel has been active in many civic and charitable organizations including serving as the President of the Reidsville Rotary Charitable Organization, and a past assistant governor for Rotary District 7690. He has served as a committee chairman for the Boy Scouts of America, and has spent time on the boards for Annie Penn Hospital, Reidsville YMCA, and the Rockingham County Partnership for Children.

He is married to Susan J. Zeller and they are the proud parents of six children, and also have seven grandchildren. He and his wife now reside in Greensboro, NC.