Poor Wade P. Johnson: On the face of it, he's doing things exactly right. The 2012 Michigan State University grad landed a job in June as a financial analyst with Conway MacKenzie, a consulting company that's working on Detroit's restructuring. But to some he's become yet another symbol of what's wrong with the city—following the revelation that the company has been billing $275 an hour for the 22-year-old's work, per records obtained by the Detroit News (which reports Johnson is likely being paid about 35% of that).
Displeasure is rampant, with a former union president questioning the amount of experience Johnson could possibly have that would command such an hourly rate. A rep for the Emergency Manager's office says the hourly rates were negotiated based on job description (Conway's rates top out at $495 an hour), and that the firm is giving Detroit a 25% discount. He explains, "The city benefits because it pays one rate, so, there are others with much more experience billing at the same rate within the classification." The city is working with six firms, and the News reports that the most expensive actually charges up to $1,000 an hour.