Thursday, June 11, 2009
Ken Feinberg, not a Czar, but a Mediator
Kenneth R. Feinberg, recently named by the Obama administration as Special Master of Executive Compensation of corporations receiving TARP money, is being called the "Pay Czar." But as the New York Times reports today, "If there is one thing Kenneth R. Feinberg does not like to be called, it is a czar." In the dispute resolution community, Feinberg is known for being a master mediator -- one who helps disputants resolve conflict voluntarily -- by using persistence, patience, and subject matter knowledge to resolve complex problems without litigation. For insights into Feinberg's mediation style, read his book about presiding over the September 11 Victim's Compensation Fund, "What is Life Worth?: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund" (2006)[http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=What+is+Life+Worth%3F&x=8&y=14]. Feinberg uses empathy (apparently a dirty word in some legal circles) and doggedness to help people sort out the complex emotional and economic issues attendant to some of the most difficult personal and business problems they face. Know any Czars famous for that?