Kathleen Neel beats incumbent in Summit County treasurer election

Kathleen Neel
Kathleen Neel/Courtesy photo

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the final, unofficial results.

Challenger Kathleen Neel has beaten incumbent Ryne Scholl in the election for Summit County treasurer.

In total, 3,457 votes were tallied in the race. Neel received 1,876 votes, or 54.27% of the votes cast, while Scholl received 1,581 votes, or 45.73%. 

“I’m excited and happy that the people of summit county have faith in me,” Neel said after the final results were reported.

Neel has more than 27 years of experience in governmental accounting and the allocation of taxes. She has also been elected three times to her current role as Summit County clerk and recorder, working 13 years for the office. For 12 years, she directly oversaw the Summit County Motor Vehicle office.

“As a county clerk I was always available to citizens. When they call, I answer the phone. When they email, I return it. When they come in and want to talk to me, I’m here. I’ve always known I work for the citizens of Summit County,” Neel said. “I’d like to be there for them. I’ve done that as a clerk, and I plan to continue to do it as treasurer.”

She said her first goal as treasurer would be to immediately start collaborations with other departments in the county, “because we all depend on each other.”

Of Neel’s three primary goals expressed during the lead up to the election, her first initiative was to run a united office that works with the community. Her next goal was to “run a transparent office.”

In her column published in Summit Daily News ahead of the election, Neel said, “The clerk, treasurer and assessor must work closely together. I want everyone in the county to be able to see exactly where their money is allocated and how those distributions are beneficial to the community.”

Lastly, Neel argued that the treasurer should be a strong leader. The level of service she brought while working in the Summit County Clerk & Recorder’s Office, she said, is the same kind of leadership and enthusiasm she wants to have as Summit County treasurer. She said she wants to be a public official “who is available to the public and accountable for the actions of the office.”

Scholl holds a Master of Business Administration degree, and before he was the county treasurer, he worked in the county’s finance department. He was elected into office in 2018 and has served as Summit County treasurer and public trustee since.  

Before the election, Scholl said his team quadrupled Summit County’s investment portfolio from $20 million to $80 million and also increased the county’s interest rate by 226%, which made more revenue available to programs like open space, child care and public safety. His team also partnered with Building Hope to support work on mental health advocacy.

On the campaign trail, Scholl’s three priorities were to first, increase collaboration with staff and other elected officials in the county, to “help support and execute long-term strategies.” Next, he wanted to build on the investment strategies that match the values of Summit County, with a focus on environmental stewardship and good social governance policies. Lastly, Scholl said he hoped to focus on safely improving returns that help bring more revenues to local programs.

Scholl’s team currently serves customers in English, Spanish and Polish. While he was treasurer, he said his team created an investment strategy that prioritized good stewardship in environmental, social, and governance topics whenever taxpayer dollars were invested in corporations. According to Scholl, this inspired other counties and municipalities to ask for guidance in implementing similar strategies.

Neel has been in the community for over 40 years and also has long-running ties to the community.

Scholl has been in Summit County for 15 years.

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