Braulio Baez leaves legal profession and consulting to run Florida's Public Service Commission as executive director
As the newly appointed executive director of the Florida Public Service Commission, Braulio Baez has dedicated his career to the state's many utility and telecommunications industries.
After working as a chief advisor for the Public Service Commission from 1994 to 1998, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Mr. Baez to serve as a commissioner, a position he held from August 2000 to January 2006, eventually serving as chair.
As a commissioner Mr. Baez put his utility experience to work, using the knowledge he gained at Leibowitz & Associates to help the Public Service Commission regulate utilities statewide.
As an associate at Leibowitz & Associates, Mr. Baez worked to advance legislative policies and negotiate municipal agreements in all aspects of telecommunications law. He held this position from 1998 until 2000 and said that it gave him the experience needed to succeed in the commission.
"If nothing else, exposure to policy issues has helped me gain an understanding of how the agency works," he said.
Mr. Baez was serving on the commission during the 2004 hurricane season, when Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne flew through Miami waters. Calling the storms the "transcendent issue" of his time, the commissioner helped South Florida utilities rebuild.
"You never realize how much you take for granted — the fact that when you flip a switch the light comes on or you have a dial tone when you pick up the phone — as when you don't have it," he said. "Everyone having lived in South Florida has the unfortunate experiences of learning that the hard way."
From 2006 to 2010 Mr. Baez worked for law firms Holland & Knight and Akerman Senterfitt, developing legal strategies involving critical infrastructure issues for Florida utility providers and telecommunications firms.
When the Public Service Commission's former executive director, Timothy Devlin, resigned after 35 years of service, it was Mr. Baez's experience that catapulted him to the top of the pack. During a national search for a new head, Mr. Baez's beat out more than 130 applicants for the top spot.
In October, Mr. Baez moved to disband his own consulting firm, the Baez Law Group, to dedicate himself to the commission full time.
"I felt I brought to the position an understanding of what the agency does, how it works," he said. "I did have a history with the staff, with working with them through my private service. I understood what the folks making the decisions go through on a daily basis, having served on the commission. I think that experience spoke to" the selection committee.
Mr. Baez discussed the Public Service Commission's initiatives and his push to create a sense of stability among staff with Miami Today staff writer Ashley Hopkins at the Miami Today offices.
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