UPDATE: Three top executives in Walker administration have no co - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Three top executives in Walker administration have no college degrees

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MADISON (WKOW) -- It has been well publicized that Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) never graduated from college, but 27 News has now learned three of his top executives also lack a college degree.

At least one of those appointees was recently called out by a subordinate for being unqualified.

32 year-old Ryan Murray is a former campaign and office staffer for Governor Walker, who became Chief Operating Officer at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in 2012, despite having no college degree and no real experience in economic development.

That is something a WEDC division head noted in a resignation letter he later retracted in late August. 

"I believe Ryan Murray, lacking either the talent or the experience to function as the Chief Operations Officer of WEDC, is causing deep and lasting harm through the application of control-style management, rather than consultative management," wrote Lee Swindall, WEDC Vice-President of Business and Industry Development in the letter sent to CEO Reed Hall.

But Governor Walker stands behind his selection of Murray.

"There are many quality people that span the spectrum from folks from high school graduation to college degrees to technical degrees to post-graduate degrees.  We have people that have the whole spectrum of things," said Gov. Walker.

Murray did attend two colleges, according to his resume.  He spent two years at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota from 2000 to 2002, and two years at UW-Superior, from 2002 to 2004. 

Former State Senator Cathy Stepp now serves as Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.  Like Murray, she has no real background of expertise in the area of regulation her agency oversees.

"Cathy does not have a college degree," DNR Spokesperson Bill Cosh told 27 News.  "She has a tremendous amount of real world experience which includes management training with McDonald's Corporation, several management positions with various businesses including Stein Optical and Wisconsin Optical, and the experience of running her own businesses."

Stepp and her husband own a construction business.

The Secretary of the Department of Administration, former Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch, also holds no college degree.

"Secretary Huebsch, the leadership at DOA, and the Administration's cabinet embody the variety of education, experience and knowledge that exists across Wisconsin," wrote DOA Spokesperson Stephanie Marquis in a statement to 27 News.  "There are thousands of professionals, entrepreneurs, and farmers that may not have gone to college, but they are competent, intelligent and talented.  Our leadership is experienced and educated, whether that's through work experience, professional knowledge or a college degree."

Marquis says Secretary Huebsch left Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma just nine credits short of a degree, because he ran out of money at the time.

Governor Walker maintains that he made the right choice in all three cases.

"When any Governor puts together a cabinet, they really don't have anyone apply.  They really go out and pick the best people out there," said Gov. Walker.

27 News found one key official in the administration of Gov. Jim Doyle that did not hold a college degree.  That was WISDOT Secretary Frank Busalacchi, who did bring years of experience in the trucking, freight and rail industries.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A heated email exchange between top officials at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation became public earlier this week, showing a top manager there questions whether Chief Operating Officer Ryan Murray lacks the "talent or experience" necessary to hold that job.

Murray has no direct experience in economic development and, like Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin), does not hold a college degree. 

But Murray is not the only top executive in the Walker administration with no college degree and a lack of qualifying experience.

Mike Huebsch, the Secretary of the Department of Administration, does not hold a college degree and neither does Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. 

Gov. Walker tells 27 News all three are more than qualified for their positions and were the best candidates for those jobs.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have more on this story on 27 News at 5 and 6.
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