Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Unpopularity of Tough Decisions

I see him at the health club every few weeks.  He's a rather unassuming guy, yet typically shares a hello and chats with my kids for a moment. 

I even asked him once about this rather unpleasant job he's taken on.  He politely declined to talk citing the privacy of the parties involved.

Yet, to many residents of the Gulf Coast, Ken Feinberg represents the pain and anguish wrought by the BP oil spill.  He's the one who has insisted a process be followed before they can get their hands on some of that $20B the oil giant has set aside for make good payments.

Image from FireTown.com.
And then he has the audacity to raise questions when the information submitted in a claim appears to be a bit...well...fishy.  Like the application for an emergency payment that totaled 2-1/2 times the claimant's total gross sales from its 2009 tax return.

Or the payment request supported with solely a letter from the mother of the business owner.

"I will not pay claims that can't be proven, that lack proof, that are not substantiated," Feinberg told the New York Times.

Amen to that.  Too often people in decision-making or influential positions are swayed by the human desire to be loved and liked.  It happens to politicians, business owners, community leaders, athletes and entertainers.

I don't really know Ken Feinberg.  Yet, I sure do respect him.  He embraces the responsibility of tough decision-making and accepts that he'll never be the most popular guy in the room.

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