Dukes and Nantucket counties slate hearing on SSA bill 

Nantucket and Dukes Counties will hold a joint meeting on proposed SSA legislation on April 11. — Rich Saltzberg

Dukes County and Nantucket County will hold a joint hearing on Steamship Authority legislation put forth by state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, and state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth. The legislation would impose term limits on the ferry line’s board, and establish a chief operating officer (COO) position. Fernandes previously indicated the COO portion would be dropped from the bill, because the SSA opted to adopt that position.

Nantucket County Commissioners (who are also the select board) and Dukes County Commissioners have opposed the legislation. Lack of public process and state overreach have been the refrains of the two counties since they began to weigh in on the subject in late winter. The Dukes County Commissioners opted to send a letter to the state legislature’s joint transportation committee outlining the county’s position. Nantucket County sent a letter on March 21. The Dukes County position agreed upon prior to a letter being drafted was that the criticism of the legislation didn’t translate into a lack of confidence in Cyr and Fernandes on all their other work. Nantucket County, through its letter, has expressed the same opinion. “We greatly appreciate the efforts of our legislators to help Nantucket with numerous home rule petitions and either assistance and guidance — except for this,” the letter states.

The joint meeting is scheduled for April 11 at 5 pm. The meeting is being held via Zoom. The meeting ID is 834 6695 8528, and the meeting passcode is 069503.


  1. Normally, I would be with the MVC and Nantucket on this — but here’s the crux of the entire thing: these people could NOT get the SSA under control and they were not listening to their constituents. If the two MV and Nantucket members of the Board, from what I can tell, our guy, Jim Malkin, was much more responsive and his requests to consider the COO to discuss fell on deaf ears. But there is no disputing that the constituents of Dylan Fernandes and Julian Cyr wanted and want change with the SSA. Years go by and nothing happens. You might say they took matters into their own hands, but a more accurate telling is that TGEY ARE DOING THE WILL OF THE VOTERS.

    I would say that the main objection coming from these two commissions has to do in part with power and influence, rather than actual policy. Why? Those two entities had their darn chance for us numerous times, as did the Board and they sat on their hands. State Legislators make a move and they turn into control freaks after the fact.

    Proof of this is in the SSA’s agreement to a COO position ONLY AFTER the legislation. Be honest if you’re reading this and you are on those boards: it happened because you dithered and those even more powerful took action ON BEHALF OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS because you couldn’t or didn’t. You’ve had 4 years to do your job and the fact that you’re willing to do it now is cold comfort to those of us who take the boat. We needed this years ago.

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