SSA begins implementation workshop

From left, Marc Hanover (Martha's Vineyard), Robert Jones (Chair, Barnstable), Kathryn Wilson (Falmouth). –Rich Saltzberg

The Steamship Authority board gathered at the ferry line’s Falmouth administrative offices Wednesday morning to brainstorm implementation possibilities for recommendations made by a consultant.

HMS Consulting was hired to review the SSA after a tumultuous 2018 season marked by chronic ferry breakdowns and numerous service delays and cancellations between the Vineyard and Woods Hole, among other problems. Joined by SSA managers and executives from HMS Consulting and Glosten Associates, the board reviewed a Safety Management System (SMS), a Quality Management System (QMS), a Learning Management System (LMS), a mission statement and a strategic plan before noon.

Glosten representative Matt Lankowski said the SSA’s mission statement was unclear and needed to be refined. Board chairman Robert Jones, Barnstable’s representative, said he believed the mission statement should be “short” and “concise.” He said “a lifeline to the Islands,” is what the present statement is.

Falmouth representative Kathryn Wilson demurred. “I think the mission statement should be more than just a lifeline to the Islands,” she said.

Asked previously by The Times to provide the SSA mission statement, SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll submitted a quote from former general manager Armand Tiberio, dated Dec. 31, 1997: “to provide excellent customer services through a safe, convenient and efficient transportation system while responding to changing needs and market demands as well as community concerns within a work environment that promotes quality performance and recognition of our employees.”

Wilson said the mission statement should reflect the language in the enabling act. Jones said it should dovetail with whatever strategic plan the SSA creates.

Both Lankowski and HMS president John Sainsbury said the mission statement will inform the culture of the SSA.