For many Americans the sheriff has finally come to town. Kenneth Feinberg, the compensation “czar” for the government, has ruled big pay and compensation cuts for the top earners at firms that took the most taxpayer bailout dollars. Feinberg has been given an extraordinarily powerful post – he alone signs off on compensation policy for companies that are propped up by federal assistance. But this is not Feinberg’s first extraordinary job.
You’ll recall that he was the man in charge of deciding the compensation for the 9/11 families who agreed not to sue the airlines. Each of these families was given money for the loss of their loved ones — the amount based on a complex formula – designed by Feinberg – that took into consideration many factors including potential earnings. The grieving families met intensively with Feinberg before he determined their compensation. Each family received a different amount. His word was final. Many of the families grew to respect and appreciate him and his efforts. We made Ken Feinberg our Person of the Week back in December of 2003. Worth a read.