The next time they get around to putting up monuments to unsung heroes, an unassuming lawyer by the name of Kenneth Feinberg will rate several.
There should be a monument, perhaps at the site of the former Twin Towers in Lower Manhattan, for the extraordinary job -- pro bono, no less -- Feinberg did administering the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund. He personally presided over more than 900 of 1,600 family hearings before eventually awarding a total of $7 billion to 97 percent of the families. The average payout was $1.8 million.
There also should be a monument, for sure on Wall Street, for the extraordinary job that Feinberg did as the Obama administration's compensation czar in determining how to set the pay for 175 top executives at seven of the nation's largest companies that received hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money in the depths of the Bush Recession in order to survive.
Now the unassuming 64-year-old has been tasked with managing the $20 billion BP fund to compensate those harmed by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and knowing Feinberg as we do, they should get their fair share. And it will be time for yet another Kenneth Feinberg monument.
Photograph by Brett Duke/The Times-Picayune