Norma Houston joined the School of Government in 2006. Prior to that, she served as chief of staff and general counsel to State Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight. She has also worked for UNC President Erskine Bowles and served as Dare County attorney, assistant attorney general in the NC Department of Justice, and staff attorney for NC Prisoners Legal Services. She is a member of the North Carolina State Bar and serves on the boards of several organizations. Houston has been an adjunct faculty member at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law and also has taught state government in the School’s graduate program in public administration. She was named Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Term Lecturer for Teaching Excellence for 2015-2017. Houston earned a BS in criminal justice and psychology and a JD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Areas of Expertise (18)
Hurricane Management Law
Procedures For Meetings
Local Government Property Transactions
Local Government Law
Local Government Contracting
Interlocal and Regional Cooperation
Governing Boards (Legal and Procedural)
Ethics in Goverment
Emergency Management Law
Elected Officials (Legal And Procedural)
Conflicts of Interest (Voting)
Conflicts of Interest (Government)
Co-Chair UNC-Chapel Hill Ethics and Integrity Working Group (professional)
General Counsel/Chief of Staff (professional)
1993-2003, 2005-2006 North Carolina State Senate
Dare County Attorney (professional)
Associate Attorney General (professional)
1991-1993 North Carolina Department of Justice
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: J.D., Law
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: B.S., Criminal Justice and Psychology
- UNC School of Law
Ethics for Local Elected Officials
This is the webpage for the yearly Live and On Demand Webinars for Ethics training for local elected city and county governing board members. These webinars satisfy the 2 clock hours of local ethics training required by state law for elected and appointed members of city councils and county boards of commissioners. This training is required to be completed within 12 months of election day and is required every time they are elected, re-elected or appointed to a local office.
Emergency Management & Crisis Communications
Facing the news media can be nerve-racking even under the best conditions. Now imagine yourself in a crisis or emergency situation facing hostile reporters who want answers to their tough questions. What would you do? What do you say? Dealing with a crisis or emergency situation can be daunting even before you face the media. Should you declare a state of emergency? Should you order an evacuation? Should you impose a curfew? How do you do any of these?
Basic Principles of Local Government Purchasing
This course is designed for new local government purchasing officials and covers basic principles and legal requirements for local government purchasing. Topics include: Competitive bidding requirements for purchasing and construction contracting Purchasing ethics and conflicts of interest Practical skills such as vendor relations, developing specifications, & bid solicitations Purchasing policies and electronic bidding Decision analysis, motivational strategies, and effective communications Local government law overview, including open meetings and public records Budgeting and fiscal control Surplus property disposal Tips for success from experienced local government purchasing professionals And More!
Basic Local Government Contracting and Procurement
This self-paced online module gives an overview of the basic legal requirements for local government contracting, purchasing, and bidding, with interactive exercises to reinforce learning.
Contracting for Construction and Design Services
This seminar addresses topics of interest to those involved in construction contracts or in the procurement of the services of engineers and architects. Topics include bidding procedures; construction methods; minority participation and reporting requirements; legal aspects of construction contracts; contract administration; and selection of design services. A panel will address recommended practices in construction, including Joint AIA/AGC Committee recommendations.
Ethics Education for Local ABC Boards
This online training is for all members of local Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) boards. Local ABC general managers, attorneys representing ABC Boards, and other local ABC staff may find it helpful to participate. In 2010 the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that requires local ABC board members to receive 2 hours of ethics training within 12 months of each initial appointment and reappointment to the board. At the request of the ABC Commission, the School of Government is offering this online training as an easy way for local ABC board members to fulfill this legal requirement. All you need is a computer with internet access.