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Board Lives: Phyllis Harrison-Ross, Board President

THE COOPERATIVE

BUILT 1910

LOCATION Central Park West

UNITS 75

ELEVATORS 4 (2 passenger, 2 service)

DOORMAN 24-Hour

WENT CO-OP 1983

BOARD Seven members (she is currently serving her third consecutive term)

RECENT PROJECTS

The co-op replaced the service elevators and is getting ready to replace the passenger elevators’ motors. The board is currently preparing for the building’s centennial.

BUILDING PROFESSIONALS

MANAGER

Michael Wolfe, Midboro Management

ATTORNEY

Stuart Saft, Dewey & LeBoeuf

ACCOUNTANT

Newman, Newman & Kaufman

 

PERSONAL STATS

AGE 73

JOB She is serving her second year as the commissioner for the New York State Commission of Corrections, and was formerly director of psychiatry at Metropolitan Hospital. She has been in private practice as a psychiatrist for years.

FAMILY Her husband died 10 years ago; other relatives live in Michigan (her birthplace); Atlanta; southern Ontario, Canada.

FAVORITE LEISURE-TIME ACTIVITY Volunteer work; television

FAVORITE EATERY O’Neal’s

FAVORITE FILM The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, “the first version, the one with Walter Matthau. I love that film. I must look at it three times a year. It’s my New York. My life has been spent working in public hospitals, working with the police, working with people that are truly on the street.”

WHY SHE BOUGHT

She had been living there for years with her husband before conversion.

WHY SHE RAN FOR OFFICE

She had been on the board for a few years and the president, on retiring, asked her to run for the top spot. Harrison-Ross says she enjoys leadership roles.

GREATEST CHALLENGE “Setting up a structure that I felt I could manage as president, understanding that these are shareholders, not employees.” She implemented an extensive committee and subcommittee system, delegating rather than micromanaging the work.

GREATEST SURPRISE “The number of shareholders who had expectations of what the board could and could not do. I had to learn the limitations. For instance, I did not realize that [in a flood] the board could not mandate the complete repair of the damaged apartment below the one that had the flood. [In some cases,] the repairs must be paid for by the shareholder.”

ADVICE TO OTHERS “Come on the board. Get on a committee that you know something about. If you know about finance, get on the finance committee. Focus on your committee and do the tasks that are involved. You will get a sense of how the process works and you will have a better chance of getting something accomplished in one or two areas – rather than trying to do everything from soup to nuts. The experience will be much more rewarding.

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