Steamship Authority governors meet on the Vineyard today to decide on an operations improvement plan that may or may not involve hiring an outside consultant.

The monthly meeting will be held at the regional high school Performing Arts Center at 4 p.m. The meeting was moved from Nantucket to the Vineyard. The ordinarily busy agenda for the boat line has been cleared and contains only two items: improvements to operations and public comment.

The boat line has been under a firestorm of public criticism for its handling of an unprecedented spate of mechanical breakdowns on ferries that began in March and cropped up again two weeks ago with another breakdown on the Martha’s Vineyard.

With public relations at a low ebb, the SSA has scrambled to restore confidence and address a tangle of operational problems both on and off the ferries.

Vineyard governor Marc Hanover has proposed an outside audit by McKinsey and Company that would cost $500,000, but other board members backed away from the idea last month, citing concerns about cost. General manager Bob Davis was instructed to come up with an alternative proposal.

The proposal was circulated among board members last week and lays out a complicated plan of internal remediation.

New reporting procedures for trip cancellations and delays and a plan to improve communications by hiring a new communications director are among the recommendations.

The proposal also details the extraordinarily high number of cancellations on the Vineyard route in the first four months of the year, mostly due to mechanical failures on ferries.

A Gazette opinion poll conducted last week found strong support among Islanders for an outside audit.

The Davis report follows:

Steamship Authority Proposed Operations Improvements Plan by Vineyard Gazette on Scribd