Despite Mixed Reviews, Steamship Authority General Manager Gets A Raise

Jason Graziadei •

Hazlegrove 8436
The Steamship's M/V Eagle at Steamboat Wharf on Nantucket. Photo by Cary Hazlegrove |

Despite mixed reviews from the Steamship Authority Board of Governors, the boat line’s general manager Bob Davis received a 4 percent raise on Tuesday following a unanimous vote by the board in an executive session.

The pay bump came after the Steamship board gave its public performance review of Davis during its meeting at the Nantucket Hotel ballroom. Davis, who has worked for the Steamship Authority since 1986 and has served as general manager for the past six years, will see his compensation rise to $215,800 annually.

Robert Davis, SSA General Manager

The Steamship Authority’s review included a scoring system in which each member of the board graded Davis on a scale of 1 to 100 based on his performance over the past year. His highest mark - a score of 95 - came from Rob Ranney, the Nantucket representative on the Board of Governors.

“On the Nantuket side, we’re a little bit more forgiving when things take place - breakdowns and other things,” Ranney said. “Bob’s response to that and his team, there are always creative solutions that are brought forward and sometimes they just kind of happen…That stuff years ago just didn’t happen. And it does happen under Bob. Nantucket is very appreciative of the efforts.”

Davis also received high marks from New Bedford representative Moira Tierney (85) and Barnstable representative Robert Jones (88).

But other board members were far more critical of Davis’ performance. Martha’s Vineyard representative James Malkin urged him to delegate more of his responsibilities to his staff, and cited poor internal communications between Steamship departments and the resolution of conflicts between elements of the organization.

“I’m concerned about micro-management and him being too involved in too many parts of the operation,” Malkin said. “The Steamship Authority would be better served if the general manager leaves the operations in the hands of the chief operating officer.”

Even as Malkin offered a score of 65 out of 100, he did offer some praise of Davis, calling him “dedicated, extremely hard-working and very, very knowledgable. There’s no question about his complete commitment to the Steamship Authority.”

Davis’ worst score - a 53 - came from Falmouth governor Peter Jeffrey, who was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting but had his review read into the record by the Steamship’s human resources director Janice Kennefick.

Jeffrey cited the Steamship’s failure surrounding the cost estimates for converting the Authority’s newly acquired offshore service vessels into freight ferries after the low bid came in millions of dollars higher than originally anticipated by Davis and his team.

Davis inked a new three-year contract with the Steamship Authority last year that included an 11.8 percent raise following a performance review that included all scores in the 90s.

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