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Greg Hlibok
New Chief of the FCC’s Disability Rights Office

On November 16, 2010, Gregory Hlibok was named Chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Disability Rights Office in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. He had been working as an attorney in that office, and attained his new post “through a competitive application process.”

As FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, “Greg will be heading up the DRO at a crucial time, as the FCC ramps up to implement the most significant disability law in two decades. [He] possesses extensive knowledge in the field of telecommunications access for people with disabilities as well as the leadership qualities necessary to lead the office. He will be the first head of the DO who has a disability. Under his direction, the office will work to ensure that people with disabilities can share fully in the economic and social benefits of emerging 21st-century technologies.”

In March 1988, Greg, the newly-elected president of the student body, achieved international fame as the spokesman for the Deaf President Now! movement at Gallaudet University. He graduated from Gallaudet in 1989, and from Hofstra Law School in 1994, and practiced general law for two years. In 1996, he teamed up with his older brother Stephen at Merrill Lynch, where he worked as a financial consultant and estate planner. In 2001, he joined the FCC, where he has taken the lead in several key rulemaking proceedings on telecommunications access for people with disabilities, including new initiatives on the National Broadband Plan. Greg and his family live in Ellicott City, Maryland.

In 1994, Greg—a Lexington alumnus—participated in the protests against Lexington’s CEO. He now serves as Board President of Lexington.

New post: As the Chief of Disability Rights Office, I primarily oversee, manage, and direct the office in determining policy, short and long-range strategic planning, by setting overall directions and procedures, as well as the staff. Additionally, I serve as the principal advisor to the Bureau on matters of legal nature in relations to the Commission’s rules and regulations. I am also responsible for planning action recommendations for Bureau consideration of programs and activities under my direction, to assure that recommendations are in accordance with Commission and Bureau policy in that all available options are clearly identified and evaluated objectively. Moreover, I facilitate office and bureau decisions and actions on disability related matters.

Previous post: In my previous position as Senior Attorney Advisor, I provided consultation and services on projects involving complex legal and policy issues, mostly in regards to telecommunications relay service. I took upon a leadership role by steering several key proceedings which involved collaboration among another bureaus and our office. For instance, I worked closely with the Office of Engineering and Technology in understanding the technological aspects of telecommunications. I conducted legal analyses for several proceedings and spearheaded certain implications sections, including reviewing draft proposals prepared by other bureaus of offices so to ensure that decisions were in conformance with existing disability laws and policies and support the Commission’s goals of increasing accessibility for people with disabilities.

Goals: I have numerous goals, but I intend to accomplish two major ones at this time. One is to complete the implementations of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act and the second is to restore the public’s confidence in video relay service by bringing this program back to its core purpose which is to ensure that this program serves consumers and not for one’s financial gain using unorthodox methods.

Working at the FCC: I truly enjoy working at the Commission because I get the opportunity to work on matters that have a significant impact on the lives of people with disabilities who have come to rely on telecommunications access in nearly every aspect of their daily routines and even in matter of emergencies. I am also fortunate to be working with such bright and conscious colleagues who are very compassionate and diligent on policy matters concerning telecommunications access.

What's happening: The scope of the requirement for captioning on the Internet will be defined during the forthcoming rulemaking proceedings. Also, pursuant to the Act, the Commission formed two key advisory committees, the Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC) and the Video Programming and Emergency Access Advisory Committee (VPAC). The VPAC will play a significant role in advising the Committee on the Internet-captioning matters. Also, I have every confidence that we will continue to see many great things coming our way as long as deaf consumers are being part of the rulemaking process, where they get to chime in. Incorporating input from the community is my #1 goal.

In regard to VRS fraud, we have two major proceedings that intend to address the fraud. One id a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that was released last may, proposing a number of anti-fraud measures, and another one is a Notice of Inquiry that seeks input from all stakeholders on the future of VRS, in particular, on how VRS can be best offered in the most functionally equivalent manner that primarily serves the consumers.

Family life: I would not be here if it was not for my amazing wife, Charmaine, who has been very supportive of me and is also a wonderful mother to our four very active and fun children, Rainer (10), Brendan (8), Charlton (6), and Lauren (5)—they keep us on our toes and enrich our lives with such joy by adding new dimensions to our household with their various interests and individual talents ranging from music to supports and entertainment. I always count my blessings to have them to come home to, especially after dealing with a demanding workload and a long bus commute of at least an hour and half both ways.

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