A retired high school math teacher, Barbara Healy says that her background helps in her current role as board president at 1 Toms Point Lane, an eight-building, 124-unit co-op in Port Washington on the north shore of Long Island.
“Being a math teacher makes you very analytical, and it makes you very methodical in what you do,” Healy notes. “I think that helps because I never want anything to fall off the radar screen. I’m so used to dotting every ‘i’ that if there’s an issue, I follow it to the end. My math degree probably did have something to do with that.”
She grew up in New Hyde Park, on Long Island, and attended Adelphi University. She moved to Toms Point Lane in the 1980s, drawn to it partly for practical reasons. “I was a high school teacher in Port Washington and also an adjunct associate professor at Nassau Community College,” she says. “I wanted to be close to the schools so I could go to meetings, go to the school plays and sports activities, and things like that.” She was also attracted to the beauty of Toms Point Lane, which is surrounded on three sides by the sparkling waters of Manhasset Bay.
Although school kept her busy, Healy was encouraged by one board president at the co-op to “get involved with the property.” So, after serving on the finance and pool committees, she ran for the board. She was elected and has served for more than twenty years, with the last three as president.
“Barbara is a very hands-on leader,” says Don Einsidler, the president of Einsidler Management, the co-op’s manager for more than three decades. “She is a dedicated board president who took over the role when the previous president died. She recently oversaw two major capital projects on a tight deadline.” Healy recalls the work: “We had to sandblast, reseal, and coat 800 feet of bulkhead. We had to do a major gutting of our pool, redid the plumbing and the lighting, and resealed it with this new compound called Pool Bright.”
Healy’s grounding in math helps in the co-op’s financial arena. “We refinanced the mortgage in 2012 because the interest rates were so much in our favor,” she says, “and our mortgage payments every month are $12,000 less than they had been. Rather than lower maintenance, we made a conscious decision to put that $12,000 a month in the reserve fund, so we built up a good hefty reserve fund before we started our projects.” The board was helped by a $10-per-share flip tax that brought in a great deal of money because of the 24 apartments that were sold in the last two years. “We had a lot of estate sales,” she says, “and a lot of people upgraded their apartments – you know, they moved into larger spaces or ones with water views.”
The board approached the mortgage refinancing with caution. “We did not want to refinance for more than we already owed,” Healy says. “It was such cheap money, the temptation to refinance for more was there. But cheap money is only cheap money at the time. When we refinance again in 2022, it could be very expensive. We decided to refinance for the same amount when we realized that we’d be saving $12,000. We do not want to ever have to assess – not to say that we never would, because things happen that you don’t expect.”
The most challenging aspect of being president? “Probably making sure that no issue that any resident has gets dropped,” Healy says. “Any issue that comes up, whether it’s big or small, is important. If the resident thinks it’s important – and you don’t – then you have to look at it from the other person’s perspective. It’s their home, too.” As for her personal life, Healy has a partner who lives at Toms Point, and they enjoy taking trips together. “He likes the outdoors, and so do I,” she says. They met on the job – he’s a retired music teacher – and they frequently visit national parks together (see box at right) and regularly travel to Florida. The two of them also share an unusual hobby, one that you probably wouldn’t expect from retired masters of music and math. “We both have pistol permits,” Healy says. “We enjoy target-shooting.” A pistol-packing president and her partner? You bet. Healy admits she’s not a great shot but says she’s a good one, noting that she once appeared on the cover of Conceal and Carry, a gun magazine. “That,” she says with a laugh, “was my 11 seconds of fame.”
Five places Barbara Healy likes to visit:
- Disney World. “It’s a good, relaxing, easy vacation.”
- Yosemite National Park. “A wonderful place.”
- Monument Valley. “It is magnificent, awe-inspiring. It’s quite something to see, All those John Wayne movies were made there.”
- Yellowstone National Park. “It’s all about photography, hiking, and just seeing beautiful scenery and animals.”
- Lake Louise. “Lake Louise in Canada is just lush greenery everywhere and beautiful green waters and animals everywhere you look. We saw grizzly bears and elk, half of them on the side of the road.”