Jane W. Jackson of the City of Stuttgart (CFO of the Year Finalist, Public Sector)

Jane Jackson plans to retire in 2014 after what will be 37 years on the job as finance officer for the city of Stuttgart.

In 1977, Jackson was in her second year interning as a bookkeeper for the city when an unexpected death left the finance position open, resulting in her promotion. Whoever takes over for her will be just the third person to serve as Stuttgart’s finance officer in 62 years, and Jackson will leave behind an office in good shape. Despite a 10 percent budget reduction in 2012, the city came in $100,000 under budget.

“When I was appointed in 1977, the city treasurer advised me to always follow the prudent-man rule, which I have followed,” Jackson said. “I believe the taxpayers entrust us to use their money wisely and I strive to do so.”

Prior to going to work for the city of Stuttgart, Jackson worked for two years in payroll at the state Department of Revenue, and prior to that for three years in the accounting department of the original Twin City Bank in North Little Rock.

Jackson described her management style as not micro-managing, but expecting quality over quantity.

“Do it once and do it right,” she said. “If you expect people to do their best and you acknowledge their work, you will receive their best work.”

Jackson loves her job but admits it can be a challenge, especially in these trying economic times. Stuttgart, which has about 130 city employees, has soldiered on in an area of the state that has seen people and jobs leave for greener economic pastures.

“It’s always a challenge to meet the needs of the citizens with limited resources,” she said, noting the city’s static revenue and ever-increasing expenses. “The last five years have been difficult in this economy. It has been a challenge to continue our services to the citizens without sizable fee and tax increases and without layoffs.”

Jackson said her greatest career accomplishment was helping organize the Arkansas Government Finance Officers Association in 1977 with Jack Murphy, who was then finance director for the city of Little Rock. That organization recognized her as Finance Officer of the Year in 2002. In 1991, Jackson was named Woman of the Year by Stuttgart Business & Professional Women.

Jackson remains active with AGFOA, serving as its historian. She works with the Arkansas Municipal League on its Cities of the First Class Advisory Council; she calls Municipal League Director Don Zimmerman the CEO she admires most. In addition, she has served on various task force groups for the organization, including chairing the committee to revise its accounting handbook.

Locally, Jackson volunteers for the Stuttgart Animal Shelter and Paw Pals, and she serves as secretary of the Grand Prairie chapter of Chi Omega Alumnae.