Cape Cod Steamship Authority opposes term limits and new governance rules

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Why are Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and the Nantucket Steamship Authority (SSA) afraid of a proposed minor legislative change to its governance that includes term limits for new board members?

The SSA says it does a great job and no one should bother with the way it has always handled itself (perfectly). (‘Shocked and appalled’: Island officials want Steamship Authority legislation withdrawn’4/14) Some Islanders claim that the SSA was originally created for and should always serve only the benefits of the Islands and to hell with anything that might negatively impact anyone else.

Is there no way for both parties in this case to benefit?

It seems no one who works at SSA wants to give up the goose that lays the golden egg, which offers lifetime positions with good pay and benefits. And no forgetting!

How can anyone but a die-hard SSA say, “I’m impressed with the Steamship Authority’s ability to meet the challenges we’ve encountered over the past few years; I’ve seen many positive advancements “said Mary Longacre, a Nantucket planning and economic development commissioner who said she was speaking on a personal basis, as reported in Martha’s Vineyard Times.

Does this positive step include the “voluntary” agreement to create a potentially state-mandated position of chief operating officer after the SSA made major protests against it?

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Where are the SSA’s constructive responses to years of community outcry over the disruption caused by the 5:30 am ferry crossing? What about the SSA’s lie of never using slip #3 for regular operations? What about the incessant complaints about the insanely huge and terribly expensive and unnecessary new ticket office building with its massive cost overruns? What about spending millions of dollars on a non-functional and unsightly nautical chart that is supposed to provide customers with “weather protection?”

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Where is the fulfillment of the SSA’s responsibility to run a profitable operation without constant breakdowns and interruptions? Where is the progress toward electrification and local pollution reduction, and his complete refusal to enforce the state’s idling ban on his property? Where are his concerns about sleep deprivation, massive traffic rumbles, dangerous commutes and speeding? What about his refusal to make a serious attempt to help establish a transport facility outside Cape Town because he has always added restrictions that make a viable offer virtually impossible?

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I probably missed many other important points. However, it is clear that the only opposition to changing the SSA comes from those who profit from its current ways of working and who know the real failings of the SSA but have chosen for over 50 years to keep their eyes, nose and ears closed.

The SSA was created to benefit people on both sides of sound. A good neighbor is a good neighbor. is the SSA?

Damien Kuffler, Woods Hole

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