Last year, Feinberg was given the title of "Special Master for Compensation." With this title came the responsibility of determining the executive pay of many of the top employees of companies receiving federal bailout money. The job ahead in regards to the BP spill in the Gulf however is quite a different type of challenge. Feinberg will be faced with gut wrenching stories by all claimants, but each different and unique. Family businesses that have been around for over 100 years are on the brink of bankruptcy, restaurants relying on tourism are empty, fisherman who make a living on the gulf are docked, and many families are having problems paying their mortgages. To hear these claims and be able to discern a monetary value takes intelligence, patience, and confidence (among many other traits). What these cases will take more than anything however is time, and time is the one thing that these people do not have. For all these reasons, Kenneth Feinberg is the appropriate choice.
Beyond determining how the bailout money will effect top company executives, Feinberg has been involved in some of the more emotionally charged payouts in American History, most notably being in charge of the government’s compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Years later, Feinberg was involved in the dispersing of funds to the victims of the Virginia Tech attacks. With these two roles (as well as many others not mentioned), Feinberg was given the duty to hear the stories of tragedy and the effect on the victims, all the while still make appropriate and responsible determinations on the financial value to those victims. The BP compensation fund will present those same challenges. Kenneth Feinberg has proven time and time again, that he will be prepared to deal with all issues that may arise, and most importantly, to make determinations in a timely manner so that people can continue their way of life as best possible.