Former state Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno, who resigned his Senate seat Friday, was hired as the new CEO for CMA Consulting Services on Tuesday.
CMA Consulting Services describes itself as a supplier of information technology systems with business divisions including consulting services, data warehousing, human resources services, and IT solutions for infrastructure, security, supply chain and social services. Its clients include New York state.
Bruno will succeed Kay McCabe Stafford, the widow of Republican Sen. Ronald Stafford, a close friend and contemporary of the 79-year-old Bruno. Bruno appointed Stafford to the powerful position of Senate Finance Committee chairman.
“I look forward to moving CMA forward from its strong position as an industry leader to an even stronger position of greater growth and expansion,” Bruno stated in a news release.
Most of the company’s growth came under Stafford’s leadership. She is credited by CMA officials with expanding the private company’s revenues from $300,000 to more than $42 million. She will remain CMA’s president and chairwoman of the board of directors, while Bruno will take over the company’s day-to-day operations.
“Senator Bruno’s insights, direction and vision will be great for our company, great for our customers and great for our employees.” Stafford said in a released statement.
Part of CMA’s growth can also be attributed to its status as a “woman-owned business.” A “woman-owned” company has a leg up in landing state contracts. CMA has won more than $9 million worth of competitively bid state contracts since 2006 for providing computer programming and information technology, according to state records. Those contracts helped the company grow to 410 employees with offices in New York City, Maryland near Washington, D.C., Texas and Arizona.
Bruno is prohibited from lobbying his former colleagues in the state Legislature but not the executive branch, which awards most state contracts, said Walter Ayres of the New York State Commission on Public Integrity.
Blair Horner, the legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group, said Bruno should still get “ethical guidance” from the Commission on Public Integrity before trying for any new state contracts for CMA.
“There will always be a concern, because Senator Bruno is who he is, that he will have a leg up on competitors,” Horner said. “Typically a legislator, when they leave office, does not get ethical guidance from the Commission on Public Integrity. But Senator Bruno is no typical back bencher in the senate. He’s one of the three most powerful political leaders in the state. As such, he’s had extensive contacts with the executive branch and we think it’s in the public’s best interest, and frankly in Senator Bruno’s best interests, to have his relationship with CMA vetted by the state’s ethics watchdog.”
A CMA spokesman said company officials were not available for comment beyond the official news release Tuesday.