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State Supreme Court Justice Joseph F. Bruno was fire commissioner in the Koch administration between 1987 and 1990. At that time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's chief of staff, Peter Madonia, was Bruno's first deputy commissioner.
It is unclear why Bruno, who is well-regarded in political circles, would wish to surrender an envied post on the state bench with a term expiring in 2013. Bruno has served on the state Supreme Court since 1996.
Bruno encountered such tension firsthand years ago. When as fire commissioner, he suggested moving fire marshals to narcotics patrols, it infuriated then-Police Commissioner Ben Ward, and Bruno was forced to publicly withdraw the suggestion.