It's official: pay czar Kenneth Feinberg's executive compensation rules for companies yet to return their bailout funds means a cap of $500K for second-tier executives. Importantly, that number represents the total compensation allowed, but only 45 percent of it -- $225,000, can be in cold, hard ducats. Stock remuneration must be held or paid out over at least two years, and extracurricular perks like country club memberships and private jet escapades can be valued at no more than $25,000.

Regarding General Motors, to lure the kind of executive the company seeks it will probably need a bit more flexibility with pay than the rules previously enforced on it by the pay committee. Feinberg said he will look at GM's compensation proposal when a suitor is located. It would be nigh on impossible to lure that candidate with the come-on, "Fix everything, here's a million bucks now, you'll get some Scooby Snacks in 2013, let us know when you're done, kthxbai."

Feinberg appeared to refine his pay re-examination statement, though, citing a case where GM brings someone in "laterally," not simply chooses from among the ranks. Like him, we all know that "It is vitally important that GM, under the law, be competitive and be able to compete in the automobile marketplace," especially if we want to get any more of that $30 billion back.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req. | Image: Win McNamee/Getty]