Dakota County Manager Matt Smith announced that he will retire after nearly eight years overseeing county operations. His retirement will be effective May 23, 2024.
“It's been my privilege to work alongside our county board and staff to serve Dakota County residents," Smith said. “This organization does important work in many different ways to help make this a good place for everyone to live and work. I'm glad to have played my part in that, and I'm confident in the county's future."
The manager implements the policy direction of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners.
“Matt Smith is the rarest kind of leader," said Board Chair Joe Atkins. “Always first to lend a hand and last to take credit, Matt constantly strives to build consensus and collaboration among all involved. He is the consummate public servant, and we deeply appreciate his service."
Smith has managed a team of more than 2,000 employees who provide a broad range of services. During his tenure, the county has maintained high financial ratings, earned state and national recognition for its services, improved mental health crisis programs, enhanced park and library amenities and responded to a growing demand for services brought by population growth in the state's third-largest county.
Working closely with the county board, Smith also oversaw the county's COVID-19 response and the allocation of federal and state pandemic relief funding. Those efforts expanded public health resources, helped local businesses recover and improved other county services.
Smith's retirement caps a long career in public service. He joined Dakota County in 2008 as its financial services director. He served as deputy county manager before being named manager in 2016.
Prior to joining Dakota County, Smith was the City of Saint Paul finance director. He also spent more than 14 years with the Minnesota Department of Revenue, including as the commissioner.
The county board has started discussing the county manager hiring process.