Falmouth selectmen picked a new representative to the Steamship Authority board, but it might be who didn’t get the position that’s most intriguing.
James Morse, a Falmouth resident who was terminated as a police officer by Oak Bluffs in November after an internal investigation showed he conducted improper background checks, put his name in for the unpaid position. Morse wrote on his resume that he was “retired” from the Oak Bluffs Police Department. Elizabeth Gladfelter, who had represented the town before her resignation, also sought the appointment.
In a 4-1 vote, selectmen ultimately picked Kathryn Wilson, a Woods Hole resident and attorney, to the board.
In memo to the board, Falmouth town counsel Frank Duffy wrote that while they’re often called representatives of the town, SSA board members are “responsible to the management and operation of the Steamship board.”
In an email to The Times, Falmouth selectmen chairman Susan Moran challenged Duffy’s position. “The Steamship representative for the town of Falmouth is appointed by the board of selectmen, so in practical terms, while ‘responsible to the management and operation of the Steamship board,’ the individual is, at the same time, representing the interests of Falmouth, just as all the other representatives are representing their own communities,” she wrote. “I think it has to be recognized that while the service by Dr. Gladfelter was well appreciated, the vote of the board of selectmen for attorney Kate Wilson comes at a time when the Steamship is undergoing a fresh start on many levels, and that that may be wind beneath the wings for changes that the communities served by the Steamship feel is overdue.”
Wilson could not be reached for comment.