HKS Appoints Joseph F. Bruno President & CEO

Former NYC Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph F.

Joseph F. Bruno, a man wearing glasses and a suit and tie, smiles in front of an American flag
Joseph F. Bruno

Effective January 29, 2016, Former Commissioner of the NYC Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM) Joseph F. Bruno has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Helen Keller Services (HKS), a national organization founded in 1893 comprised of Helen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB) and Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC).  The announcement was made by Christopher Maher, Chairman of HKS’s Board of Trustees. Mr. Bruno succeeds Mr. Thomas J. Edwards, who is retiring from HKS after six years of service. 

“Joe has been an extremely active board trustee for over 16 years,” observed Mr. Maher, “especially on HKS’ Operations Committee, which oversees our programs.  His many years of public service and devotion to HKS will serve the organization well as it continues to help clients develop independence and adapt to an ever-changing environment. Everyone here looks forward to working with Joe as he takes the helm of HKS.”

Mr. Bruno brings with him over four decades of public service under five New York City mayors, including Mayors John Lindsay, Abe Beame, Ed Koch, Mike Bloomberg, and Bill de Blasio.

“I am deeply honored to serve HKS as President and CEO,” stated Mr. Bruno. “The same enthusiasm and leadership that I have shown throughout my many years of public service will be directed to HKS and its important work on behalf of individuals in need in New York and across the country.  It is a great responsibility, and I could not be more pleased by my new role in the organization.”

Mr. Bruno’s public service career is one marked by significant achievement from his beginning days as a Parole Officer for the State of New York to his most recent tenure as New York City OEM Commissioner. Joining the NYC Law Department in 1971, he rose to manage three major divisions within that department.

In 1983, Mr. Bruno became the city’s First Deputy Fire Commissioner, and three years later was selected by Mayor Ed Koch to head the Parking Violations Bureau (PVB) at a time when that bureau was riddled with scandal. Under his leadership, PVB was restored to respectability and able to continue its work within NYC government.

In 1987, after successfully completing his PVB tour of duty, Mr. Bruno was appointed by Mayor Koch as Fire Commissioner of the City of New York – an historic NYC position.

In 1991 and 2001, Mr. Bruno was elected to two separate 10-year terms as a NYC Civil Court Judge.  In 2002, while “on the bench” as a Judge of the Civil Court, Judge Bruno was elected to serve as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

In 2004, less than three years after the 9/11 Tragedy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked Mr. Bruno to join his administration and serve as Commissioner of the newly Chartered NYC Office of Emergency Management (NYCOEM).

Over the course of his 10 years of service as NYCOEM Commissioner, Mr. Bruno proved instrumental in the development and leadership of the largest and most highly regarded municipal emergency management agency in the country, and perhaps the world.

Mr. Bruno’s expertise in emergency management has garnered the attention of elected officials and leadership worldwide. Having hosted military and civilian leaders from Europe, Asia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and the Middle East, NYCOEM has become a global model for success in crisis management under his leadership. In 2004, Commissioner Bruno rolled out the NYC Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS), which stands today as the system under which NYC manages all major emergencies.

Continuing to lend his expertise in a variety of capacities, Mr. Bruno serves as a Trustee of the Board of Directors of Brooklyn Maimonides Medical Center and continues in a senior leadership role with the Big City Emergency Managers (BCEM)—a not-for-profit group he organized that is made up of Directors or Commissioners of emergency management agencies from 15 major U.S. cities.

In his most recent position as Vice President for Emergency Management and Senior Strategic Advisor at RedLand Strategies, Mr. Bruno brought with him to the private sector and other governmental entities decades of proven excellence and global recognition in the spheres of law, public service, and emergency management.

Mr. Bruno is a lifelong New York City resident who holds a B.S. in Economics from City College and a J.D. from St. John’s University Law School.

Helen Keller Services’ mission is to enable individuals who are blind, have vision loss, are deaf-blind and/or have combined hearing-vision loss to live, work and thrive in the communities of their choice.  HKS offers services and programs through two divisions: Helen Keller Services for the Blind and Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults.  For more information, please visit


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