Port council lauds Davis

Port council members had a lot of good things to say about general manager Robert Davis as part of his annual review. Left to right: Barnstable member Roland "Bud" Breault, general manager Robert Davis, human resources director Janice Kennefick, Tisbury member John Cahill, Oak Bluffs member Joe Sollitto, Falmouth member Rob Munier, and Nantucket member Nathaniel Lowell.

On Tuesday morning, the Steamship Authority’s port council praised general manager Robert Davis’ performance over the past year. 

Port council members consistently gave the longtime leader of the ferry line overall grades in the 90th percentile as part of his annual review. Chair John Cahill, Tisbury’s member, expressed amazement at Davis’ knowledge base, and said he’s done a “totally respectable job” at the helm of the SSA. He also lauded Davis for guiding the SSA through the pandemic. 

While Oak Bluffs member Joe Sollitto gave Davis a solid review, he also said the ferry line’s communication needs improvement. 

Along with praising Davis, Nantucket member Nathaniel Lowell said he would like to see less managerial interference with terminal agents and how they run the docks. 

Falmouth member Rob Munier was no less generous with his kudos for Davis, but also said he believed Davis had too much work on his plate. 

SSA human resources director Janice Kennefick told the port council members their responses would be carried over to the board as it too evaluates Davis. That meeting is scheduled for July 19 at 9:30 am.

In other business, Davis said the freight ferry Gay Head, which is scheduled to do crossings between Hyannis and Nantucket, recently suffered a mechanical issue as it departed Fairhaven for Hyannis after a repair period. The vessel suffered damage to an engine “turbo,” and more specifically to an impeller. The Gay Head was forced to abort its return to service. He said “parts are being sourced” to repair the vessel. Upon inspection, similar damage was found in the vessel’s other engine, also necessitating a repair, he said. Work is expected to be finished Wednesday, with sea trials for the vessel on Thursday, he said. When asked by The Times toward the close of the meeting what was believed to have happened to the impellers, Davis said it appeared metal had fallen inside. He conceded it was possible this could have occurred while the vessel was being worked on.


  1. This guy Davis is a wizard! Every year, it’s like he has cast a spell over the people on the boards — Islanders have so many problems: two-tiered excursion prices that tower of the costs of similar ferry companies in other locales, ferries that break down at least several times a month, if not more, the expansion using of two slips to three slips and adding sailings that were determined to be temporary, the building of a gigantic terminal building when one as small as the temporary one appears to be plenty and not anticipating cost overruns, now to the tune of 8 digits.

    The SSA’s bond cannot cover what will need to be more fleet replacements as it will max out…I just cannot believe any of this — EVERYONE on that board looks like a fool to the world when considering the facts. Is there no sanity left?

    If any of the port council members are reading this – and they look like they need to be replaced – you think about everything I mentioned above, you are betraying your constituents or you are so willfully blind. This kind of appraisal, when considered with the above complaints, defies gravity.

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