City of Sterling Heights Finance Director Jennifer Varney was recently named one of Crain’s Detroit Business “Notable Women in Finance” for 2018.
Varney has held the position of Finance Director since 2017 but has worked for the City for more than 10 years, previously as City Treasurer and Payroll Accountant.
The women featured as Crain’s Detroit Business “Notable Women in Finance” for 2018 were selected based on their career accomplishments, their involvement in nonprofits and community organizations, and evidence that they mentor others in their field, as outlined in an extensive nomination form.
In her role as CFO, Varney is involved in all aspects of financial decision-making and provides financial oversight on large-scale projects. She oversees a total budget including all funds of approximately $500 million. Varney holds an MBA from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University. She is a Certified Public Treasurer.
She has been an instrumental in implementing the City's self imposed Emergency Financial Plan established at the onset of the Great Recession to help the City preserve its solid financial position. The plan included eliminating fixed pensions, eliminating retiree health care, privatizing services, regionalizing police and fire dispatching with the County, and implementing service sharing in other areas. Varney’s financial leadership has resulted in the City achieving continued financial success with a AA+ Bond Rating, 25% fund balance, an unqualified audit (the best rating possible) while reducing legacy costs.
“The City Council is very proud to see Jennifer selected to be among such a prestigious group of leaders in the financial industry,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “With one of the largest tax bases in the state, Jennifer’s job is very important and financial health and stewardship remains a top priority of the Council. We trust her to serve as the top financial officer in Sterling Heights and commend her on this award.”
According to City Manager Mark Vanderpool, Varney has led an effort to reduce retiree health care liabilities. Sterling Heights retiree health care funding has increased from just $6 million in 2004 to over $100 million currently. Sterling Heights now has one the highest OPEB funding levels in the state. In addition, Vanderpool said, Varney has provided financial leadership developing the financial model required to construct the City's first ever Wellness Center at City Hall to drive down health care costs while enhancing health care access and wellness services to employees.
“Jennifer has been a valued member of the City's leadership team and directly responsible for the City's financial success,” Vanderpool said. “She has earned an excellent reputation both inside and outside the organization as someone who is fair, professional and someone who leads by example with hard work and unquestionable integrity.”
Media with questions about the event can contact Community Relations Director Bridget Kozlowski at (586) 446-2471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.