SSA approves goals for general manager
With little discussion, the Steamship Authority members last week approved a list of seven goals general manager Wayne Lamson set for himself in the next year. Slow and steady describe the goals and Mr. Lamson's management style.
For the most part, Mr. Lamson intends to continue building on current initiatives and projects. The most specific items relate to the ongoing construction of the Island Home and the fast ferry Iyanough and the refurbishment of the Nantucket.
Soon after he was named general manager in December 2004, Mr. Lamson began working on ways to improve customer service. The immediate result was improved telephone service and a revised system for storm cancellations.
Over the past two years Mr. Lamson has also demonstrated a willingness to admit when the boatline could have done a better job and look for ways to take corrective action. Last week, referring to a summer weekend when two boats broke down leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded, he said the SSA needed to do a better job keeping people waiting at the terminals informed when boats are cancelled.
One goal is to create procedures the SSA can follow to sustain essential operations in an emergency or crisis.
Cost of operations is another area that will receive some attention. Last week Mr. Lamson raised the prospect of limited advertising, a notion floated in the past, as a means of offsetting the need for rate hikes.
Mr. Lamson continues to enjoy the strong support of the SSA board members who demonstrate a great deal of confidence in their general manager.
Marc Hanover, Vineyard SSA member, said that the goals are fairly generic and allow for a broad range of actions. He said that Mr. Lamson continues to do a fantastic job, refining SSA operations and looking for ways to cut costs while at the same time providing better customer service.
"He is going a great job and we want him to continue the course that he is on," said Mr. Hanover.
The seven goals for the general manager in 2007 are:
1. Oversee the timely completion of ongoing capital projects including the construction of the M/V Island Home and M/V Iyanough, mid-life refurbishment of the M/V Nantucket, and the construction of the Fairhaven maintenance shop building within proposed schedules and authorized budget amounts.
2. Continue to seek state and federal funding to assist with some of the authority's upcoming capital projects, including the Oak Bluffs terminal reconstruction project, M/V Eagle mid-life refurbishment project, and the bulkhead improvements at the Fairhaven vessel maintenance facility.
3. Complete a continuity of operation plan, including procedures to sustain essential functions during or following a crisis or emergency requiring the evacuation of one or more of the authority's locations.
4. Continue to explore alternate sources of income and additional cost savings strategies to help partially offset the need for rate increases.
5. Review the effectiveness of the authority's current vessel overhaul and terminal maintenance programs and implement changes, as needed, to include better planning, supervision, and accountability for any repair or maintenance requests.
6. Review the authority's customer service and marketing functions and implement changes, as needed, to increase the department's overall effectiveness and accessibility.
7. Review traffic circulation problems at the Nantucket terminal and work with the Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission to develop recommendations for improving the overall flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic at and around the terminal area.