Thursday on KPCW, Corrie Forsling, a candidate for Summit County Treasurer, mentioned she was the only candidate for the position who had a college degree. We thought we may have misunderstood her, so we checked. It appears that she is correct. Her opponent, Amy Yost, has a high school degree, while Ms. Forsling has both a college degree and a Masters in Business.
So, how important is a college education for this position? First, what does a County Treasurer do? According to the Summit County website, “The Summit County Treasurer collects property taxes, receipts and accounts for all county funds, reconciles cash balances, and invests available cash.” So, effectively they collect most of the money the county receives, tracks how much money we have and how it was spent, and invests money.
While we at the Park Rag are big proponents of experience and self-education, these are important responsibilities impacting lots of money and thousands of people. Therefore, we don’t want to be cavalier about it. We look at it this way… does having a generic college degree matter? A college degree demonstrates some ability to complete a task that took many years, that likely contained some adversity. It also shows some worldliness as whether you go to Brown, Miami of Ohio, or the U you are thrown into a situation with a diverse people, many whom are probably as smart or smarter than you. You could possibly gain that without going to college. You’d likely need to search it out, but you could find it.
However, let’s take the thought exercise a step further. If you were looking for someone to manage your money, be it an investment advisor, private banker, or the person who manages your organization’s pension fund what educational background would you want? You’d likely want someone with a business degree, or better yet some sort of masters degree related to finance. You’d want them to have both practical experience and the academic knowledge to backup decisions.
So, our opinion is that something like an Art History degree wouldn’t do much for our Treasurer. Just having a random college degree isn’t enough. In a county like ours with so much money and so much going on, we should demand the best and brightest person available. That person probably should have some sort of business degree.