News Story

Two Cities, One Finance Director — For Over $200,000

Same individual collects full-time finance director salaries in Novi and Oak Park

A Novi-based news site has discovered that two cities in southeast Michigan are paying the same man to be their full-time finance directors, and as a result, he is collecting two salaries that come to $205,000 a year. reported that the city of Novi’s finance director Carl Johnson is also collecting a salary to be the full-time finance director for the city of Oak Park.

Novi hired Johnson in January 2014. Before that, he was a partner at the accounting firm Plante Moran, PLLC.

Novi City Manager Pete Auger says he is aware that Johnson is also a full-time director at Oak Park and thinks he can do both jobs.

Oak Park City Manager Erik Tungate said he was aware of Johnson’s position with Novi when Johnson was hired in July 2015.

“I have the utmost faith, and Carl has thus far proven, that he can fulfill the job requirements I have set forth for finance director for the city of Oak Park,” Tungate said in an email. “In addition, given Carl’s previous status as a partner at Plante & Moran handling several jurisdictions’ finance departments, I consider it a benefit for us to have him focused almost entirely on ours. … If his status changes, or his performance becomes an issue, he is aware that I will track in a new direction.”

Tungate added: “We are a very financially stable community with a cumulative general fund balance ranging near 15 percent. During my three years as city manager, I have reformed this local government from top to bottom. I have also hired a good number of department heads who are top performers. Carl is no exception.” reported that Johnson makes $90,000 a year at Oak Park and $115,000 a year at Novi.

“It makes me wonder if both cities really need a full-time salaried director,” said Leon Drolet, chair of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. “One would think that two cities that share a manager would coordinate and share the costs.”

Johnson didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.