Deputy County Administrator Yantos retires after 36-plus years

Contributing Writer

Deputy Anoka County Administrator Tim Yantos retired June 30 after more than 36 years with the county.

Yantos retired through the county’s voluntary separation program through which employees with 10 or more years of experience with the county receive a financial incentive to leave, according to County Administrator Jerry Soma.

Dee Guthman, associate county administrator since 2005, was named the new deputy county administrator, effective July 2, by the Anoka County Board June 28.

The county does not plan to fill the associate county administrator position, Soma said.

At the meeting of the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority June 14, Guthman was appointed to the executive director job effective July 1 to succeed Yantos until the end of the year; the executive director is appointed on annual basis.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, with a degree in urban studies, Yantos joined Anoka County in 1980 as deputy county administrator.

He previously worked as an assistant administrator with the city of Columbia Heights, Soma said.

In addition to his position as rail authority executive director, Yantos also served as executive director of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, the umbrella organization of cities and counties that worked for many years to make the Northstar Commuter Rail project a reality.

Yantos was also executive director of the Anoka County Housing and Redevelopment Authority for many years before relinquishing it to Karen Skepper, the county’s community development and intergovernmental relations director.

Members of the rail authority June 14 praised Yantos, who declined an interview, for his work as executive director.

Commissioner Scott Schulte thanked Yantos for his outstanding work and for his availability in providing the right information to authority members all the time.

According to Commissioner Matt Look, rail authority chairperson, Yantos was one of the first people to come up to him after Look was first elected to the County Board to ask him what he wanted to do and how he wanted it done.

“That was refreshing,” Look said. “Tim made my job as chairperson of the rail authority much easier and we were able to get things done.”

Commissioner Mike Gamache congratulated Yantos on his retirement and thanked him for his efforts on the Northstar Commuter Rail project.

“It was great working with Tim,” he said.

Commissioner Robyn West said she had talked with Yantos a lot in her time on the County Board and as a member of the rail authority and the information provided helped keep her “on the right track.”

According to Soma, Yantos served under four county administrators during his long tenure with the county: Ralph McGinley, Jay McLinden, Terry Johnson and Soma.

In his role as deputy county administrator, Yantos spearheaded a lot of different projects, notably Northstar Commuter Rail and “any other projects that came up,” Soma said.

“Tim would help in any way to get things done,” he said.

More recently, Yantos’ responsibilities expanded when he was put in charge of the county emergency management and central communications programs, Soma said.

“Tim was a dedicated, hardworking employee with a very pleasant personality,” he said. “Tim is going to be missed.”

Martha Weaver, county public information manager, described Yantos as a “first-class gentleman.”

Unanimously appointing Guthman the new deputy county administrator, the County Board also approved her employment contract.

As deputy county administrator, Guthman serves as county administrator when Soma is not available, is the responsible authority on Anoka County data privacy and is the county’s compliance official as well as having the responsibility to supervise administrative staff, according to the resolution appointing her approved by the board.

“Dee Guthman has distinguished herself by serving in several management positions with the county,” the resolution states.

County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah congratulated Guthman and said she appreciated Guthman’s “great work in everything she does.”

“Dee is able to juggle many different things all at the same time,” Sivarajah said.

According to Soma, Guthman has many qualities that make her very successful and she has stepped up in many different areas.

“We are very fortunate to have Dee and she will do a great job” as deputy county administrator, Soma said.

A native of Lake Holcombe, Wisconsin, Guthman graduated from high school in that community before earning a two bachelor’s degrees, one in business administration and the other in interior design, from the University of Wisconsin, Stout.

She worked a number of jobs, including buyer and showroom coordinator with Cort Furniture, before joining International Decision Systems, a leading provider of software and solutions for the asset financial market, in May 1992 where she served in a number of positions – sales account manager, training coordinator, project manager and marketing project coordinator.

When the Anoka County associate county administrator position opened up in January 2005, Guthman applied because it was not only an opportunity to try something new, it also met her desire to have a job closer to her family’s residence in Andover and reduce the amount of travel she had to do for International Decision Systems, she said.

“Once I started with the county, I got hooked,” Guthman said.

In her role as associate county administrator, she has been involved in a number of projects, including the 800 megahertz public safety radio system and coordinating LEAN/Kaizen training to make county government more efficient as well as being responsible for development and administration of budgets for county administration, regional rail authority and the housing and redevelopment authority, according to Guthman.

Many of her duties as associate county administrator will carry over to the deputy county administrator job with the decision not to hire a new associate county administrator, Guthman said.

“Tim has been a great mentor and I have learned a lot from him,” she said.

Guthman said she appreciated the opportunity and looked forward to working with the County Board and Soma. “It’s going to be fun,” she said.

Guthman and her husband, Randy, have a daughter, Remington, who is a college student.