Cynthia Brann was named Commissioner in October, 2017. She has 35 years of corrections and public safety experience. Commissioner Brann comes to DOC with four years of executive level responsibility as the Deputy Commissioner providing strategic planning, leading cultural and organizational change, implementing evidence based practices as well as integrating the work of the facilities and community divisions.
Her accomplishments include effective restructuring of adult probation services resulting in operational efficiencies, the reduction of caseloads and increased positive offender outcomes; reform of the juvenile detention decision processes and risk assessment tools resulting in statewide reduction in secure detention admissions without increased public safety risk and successfully embedding evidence-based policies and practices within the adult and juvenile divisions. From 2001 to 2011, Ms. Brann was a Regional Correctional Administrator overseeing all operations within a nine county division. From 1996 to 2001, she served as a Regional Resource Coordinator managing all offender program contracts and fiscal operations within a four county division. From 1989-1996 she performed the duties of a Probation and a Parole Officer supervising juvenile, adult and Intensive Supervision caseloads.
Angel Villalona was appointed First Deputy Commissioner in February 2018.
In this role First Deputy Commissioner Villalona’s primary objective is to continue to improve upon established standards of operational effectiveness by focusing on initiatives designed to improve critical needs such as: business alignment, effective workforce administration, correction best practices, and culture change.
He will oversee: Human Resources, Health Affairs, Information and Technology, Office of Administration, Office of Labor Relations, Budget and Financial Management, Nunez compliance and PREA. Under his leadership, he will support the department in meeting and exceeding its commitment to public safety.
First Deputy Commissioner Villalona began his career as a Correction Officer in September 1995 and was assigned to the Otis Bantum Correctional Center (OBCC).
In 2000, he was promoted to the rank of Captain and was assigned to the North Infirmary Command (NIC) and the Office of the Chief of Department.
He was later promoted to the rank of Assistant Deputy Warden in 2004 and was assigned to the George R. Vierno Center (GRVC).
In 2006, he was named Deputy Warden and later that year, promoted to Deputy Warden In-Command while serving as the Executive Assistant to the First Deputy Commissioner. In January of 2016, he was named Bureau Chief of Administration.
Timothy D. Farrell was appointed Senior Deputy Commissioner in January 2018. In this capacity, he will be responsible for oversight of Classification and Population Management, Quality Assurance, Adult Programming and Youthful Offender and Young Adult Programming. He will also generally oversee the Department’s efforts related to “Raise the Age” and Closing Rikers. Mr. Farrell previously served, since March 2015, as Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Classification and Population Management. Before that, he was a member of the Connecticut Department of Correction at the Bridgeport Correctional Center from 2011 to 2014, serving in the capacity of Warden. In his 28 years in corrections, he served as Officer, Shift Supervisor, Deputy Warden and Warden. Mr. Farrell graduated from Mattatuck Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut majoring in Criminal Justice
In 1991, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant of the New Haven Correctional Center, where he was Shift Supervisor of a staff of 300 and inmate population of 800. In 1993, he was promoted to Captain. In 1999, he was promoted to Major, reporting to the facility Warden. In 2007, Mr. Farrell became Deputy Warden and in 2011, he became Warden 2, responsible for the complete management oversight of three facilities, one of them being Cheshire Correctional Institution. Mr. Farrell retired from the Connecticut correctional system in December 2014.
Brenda Cooke was appointed Chief of Staff in August 2018. Ms. Cooke served as Deputy Chief of Staff since January 2018. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Cooke served as Deputy General Counsel for the Legal Division.
As Chief of Staff, Ms. Cooke directly supports and advises the Commissioner on operational, policy, and strategic initiatives and efforts. Ms. Cooke also serves as a key liaison between the Department and other City agencies, stakeholders, and oversight bodies.
Before joining the Department of Correction, Chief of Staff Cooke held the position of Senior Counsel for the New York City Law Department from 2011 until 2015. Ms. Cooke was also a Senior Associate in the litigation department of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP from 2003-2011, and served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Robert C. Chambers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia from 2002-2003.
In 2002, Chief of Staff Cooke received her Juris Doctor from New York Law School, where she graduated summa cum laude. She is licensed to practice law in the State of New York, and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of the Second Circuit.
Heidi Grossman was appointed Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters/General Counsel in 2014. She earlier worked at the New York City Law Department, where she served for over a decade, recently as Deputy Chief of the Special Federal Litigation Division. She began with the Law Department in 1989 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Administrative Law Division. Soon after, she was promoted to Deputy Assistant Chief of the General Litigation Division, litigating federal and state class-action and monetary damage suits.
In 1998, she was named Assistant Chief of the Special Federal Litigation Division, where she supervised a team of attorneys. In 2003, Grossman also became the coordinator for the Law Department's public service program, which seeks volunteer legal services from large law firms in order to lessen the burden of the city's caseload. She received her J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and her B.A. in political science from Syracuse University.
Peter Thorne was named Deputy Commissioner of Public Information in September 2014. Before joining the Department, he was Director of Communications for the Office of the New York City Comptroller.
Prior to that, Thorne served as an anchor and reporter for 10 years with WPIX-TV in New York City. He is the recipient of three Emmy Awards – for best government reporting, best hard-news reporting, and journalistic enterprise, as well as many other press honors from the Associated Press and the New York State Broadcasters Association.
Before WPIX, he was a news anchor and reporter at KCOP-TV in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Yale University, with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science.
Patricia Feeney was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Quality Assurance and Integrity in January 2018. In this role, D.C. Feeney will ensure that the Department and all staff are adhering to the rules mandated by regulatory agencies and internal policies. She will provide direction and oversight for the Department’s Internal Audit Operations and the application of Assessment Services as they pertain to the Office of Policy and Compliance; the Environmental Health Unit; the Fire and Safety Unit, Financial Audits and the Engineering Audits Unit. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Feeney served as the Assistant Commissioner of Environmental Health Services. She brings to this new position more than 26 years of NYC Department of Correction experience. DC Feeney attended Union College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. She is a Registered Sanitarian in the State of New York.
Michael Tausek was appointed Deputy Commissioner for Adult Programming and Community Partnerships at the NYC Department of Correction in July 2018.
In this capacity, Mr. Tausek will be responsible for overseeing all adult programming within Enhanced Supervision Housing and the Agency, coordinating contracts relevant to all community & external providers, supervising adult programming staff, along with tracking & maintaining inmate participation indicators within adult programming.
Mr. Tausek previously served as a Senior Correction Administrator for NYC DOC since September 2017. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Tausek served as a Correction Officer and Sergeant at Maine’s State Department of Correction. During his correctional tenure, he ultimately was appointed to Deputy Warden of Programs and Case Services.
Mr. Tausek has a Law Degree from Western New England University and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of Southern Maine. He also served as an active member of the U.S. coast guard for over six years.
Maureen Danko was appointed Chief Information Officer/Deputy Commissioner of Information Technology of the Department of Correction in December 2015. Ms. Danko will oversee all areas of Information Technology (IT), including strategic planning, application development, data and systems management, and network and infrastructure.
She joined the Department of Correction as the Director of the IT Project Management Office in October 2011. Before joining the Department, Ms. Danko worked in the airline and hospitality industries. Her broad background in IT includes strategy and business development, project management, telecommunications, database and network-systems management, software and data-applications development, IT business solutions and IT infrastructure management.
She has planned and implemented complex flight and reservations systems, led technical teams through delivery of innovative solutions and implemented best practices and procedures across IT divisions.
Nadene M. Pinnock, Esq. was named Deputy Commissioner of Human Resources in May 2016. Her career with the Department began in January 2006 as an Agency Attorney. In October 2009, Ms. Pinnock was appointed Deputy General Counsel. In this role, she led a series of progressively challenging initiatives, interpreting laws, judicial decisions, and the minimum standards of the Department’s oversite bodies including the Board of Correction and the State Commission of Correction.
Before coming to the Department, Ms. Pinnock was an Associate with the law firm of Connors & Connors, P.C. on Staten Island, from 2001 to 2004, where she was responsible for various aspects of litigation for insurance defense. From 2004 to 2005, Ms. Pinnock was an Associate with Goldberg & Associates in Manhattan and was responsible for management and defense of commercial and insurance defense matters. Ms. Pinnock received her Bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University and her Juris Doctor from George Washington University Law School.
Sarena Townsend was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Investigation Division in April 2018.
In this role, D.C. Townsend will oversee and manage all facets of Departmental Investigations and the Integrity Control Program. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Townsend served as the head of the Trials and Litigation Division. She will continue to oversee that Division and will monitor the preparation of all disciplinary matters and map DOC’s legal strategy for Administrative and Disciplinary matters.
Ms. Townsend has 11 years of professional experience in the fields of Investigation and Criminal Prosecution. Prior to that, she served as Deputy Bureau Chief at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, where she supervised trials and successfully prosecuted violent felony cases, including Rape, Assault, Robbery, and Homicide.
In 2006, Ms. Townsend received her Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law. She graduated cum laude from New York University in 2003 with a B.A. in Psychology.
Lawrence P. Dail was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Training & Development in September 2018.
In this capacity, Mr. Dail will oversee and support all recruit, in-service, leadership development and promotional training for the Department’s uniformed and non-uniformed workforce. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Dail served in continuing education roles in higher education institutions where his focus was on the development of work-related skills and competencies to help adults prepare for their next promotion, or prepare unemployed men and women to reconnect with the workforce in a meaningful way.
Most recently, he served as Director of Workplace Learning at the City University of New York, School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) where he helped a range of city agencies devise learning strategies to satisfy compliance mandates or deliver impactful professional development sessions and change culture. He is a Certified Professional in Learning Performance, and is presently working on a Doctorate in Adult Learning, & Leadership at Columbia University’s Teachers College where his concentration is on performance management, feedback and neuroscience. He has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, and Bachelor’s degree in History from McDaniel College.
Hazel Jennings was appointed Chief of Department in January 2018. Chief Jennings began her career at DOC in 1989, when she was assigned as a Correction Officer at the Robert N. Davoren Center (RNDC). She later served at the Brooklyn Courts. In 2002, she was promoted to Captain and assigned to the George Motchan Detention Center (GMDC). She later served as a supervisor to the Assistant Chief of Special Operations, Assistant Chief of Facility Operations and Assistant Chief of Environmental Health. In 2010, she was promoted to Assistant Deputy Warden and was assigned to GMDC. She then was assigned to the Operations Security Intelligence Unit (OSIU) and awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in November 2011.
In 2012, she was promoted to Deputy Warden and assigned to RNDC as the Security Deputy Warden. In August 2014, she was promoted to Warden and assigned to the Special Operations Division (SOD). In February 2015, Chief Jennings was promoted to Assistant Chief of Security and later appointed Bureau Chief of Security in October 2015. In March 2016, she was appointed Bureau Chief of Facility Operations and later appointed Bureau Chief of the Criminal Justice Bureau in October 2016.
Justin Von Bujdoss was appointed to the position of Executive Director of Chaplaincy and Staff Wellness in March 2018.
In this capacity, he will be responsible for the oversight of all Staff Chaplains, C.A.R.E. Unit, Ministerial Services, and will report directly to the Office of the Commissioner.
Chaplain Von Bujdoss previously served, since September 2016, as Staff Chaplain. Von Bujdoss is an accomplished multi-faith leader, with extensive experience as a Hospice and Hospital Chaplain.
He is a graduate of Antioch College and has completed clinical pastoral education training from the New York Zen center for contemplative care.
Von Bujdoss is an ordained Buddhist priest, and has over 20 years of training within the United States as well as various monasteries throughout India.
Becky Scott was promoted to Bureau Chief in May 2019. Chief Scott joined the Department in 1991 as a Correction Officer at the Anna M. Kross Center. In 2003, she was promoted to the rank of Captain and assigned to the North Infirmary Command, before being transferred to the Criminal Justice Bureau’s Classification Unit where she served as the General Task Force Supervisor. Chief Scott served at the rank of Assistant Deputy Warden from 2010-2012, during which time she was assigned to posts in the North Infirmary Command, West Facility, and Otis Bantum Correction Center.
In 2012, Chief Scott was appointed to Deputy Warden and oversaw Adolescent Operations within the Robert N. Davoren Center. In 2014, she was promoted to the rank of Deputy Warden in Command, subsequently serving within the Department’s Custody Management Unit, Transportation Division, and the George Motchan Detention Center. Chief Scott was appointed to the rank of Warden in 2015. As Warden, she managed the operations of the Brooklyn Detention Complex, the Eric M. Taylor Center, and the North Infirmary Command. In July 2018, Chief Scott was promoted to Assistant Chief, Division II. In this capacity, she provided crucial support to facilities operations, administration, emergency response operations, population management, and security procedures.