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Oil spill czar in pay negotiations while security tightens

The administrator of the $20-billion compensation fund for Gulf oil spill victims and BP are discussing how much he will be paid for his services in the months ahead.

A spokeswoman for Ken Feinberg confirmed yesterday the talks are happening. But she declined to say whether the Washington attorney is seeking a raise from the $850,000 a month his firm has been receiving.

That fee amount was valid through Saturday. Feinberg’s contract with BP states that the two parties would discuss future fees on a quarterly basis. It also says that BP must approve any subcontractors Feinberg hires as part of the claims process.

In the mean time, security has tightened at oil spill compensation meetings. The shooting of an Arizona congresswoman and rising tempers along the Gulf Coast prompted increased security for meetings yesterday between BP’s oil spill claims czar and residents seeking compensation.

Metal detectors and additional police officers were added at two events attended by fund administrator Feinberg in Alabama. More than 1,000 people crowded into an Orange Beach, Ala., gymnasium to hear Feinberg talk. Each one had to first walk through a metal detector and remove all items from their pockets.

A similar procedure was used at an earlier meeting yesterday in nearby Bayou La Batre. The security measures weren’t in place at previous meetings.

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