Ferries are running better than ever, but the Steamship Authority needs a management overhaul.

That was the message from Vineyard SSA governor Marc Hanover to the Dukes County commission at a meeting Wednesday afternoon, three weeks after the release of an independent report from marine consultants that outlines a long list of internal and operational problems at the boatline.

“It’s been a real eye opener, this report,” Mr. Hanover said, referring to the 140-page study of management, operations and fleet maintenance by HMS Consulting of Seattle that was released on Dec. 17. But the Vineyard governor also sought to emphasize the positive, noting that ferries ran reliably throughout the summer after a disastrous spring of mechanical breakdowns and an unprecedented number of trip cancellations. “The boats have never run better and safer, there’s no question about that,” he said. “I’m more concerned with top level management.”

Mr. Hanover said he doesn’t agree with all the consultants’ recommendations, particularly to hire additional managers.

“I think it’s overkill,” he said.

Gretchen Tucker Underwood is elected new chairman of county commission. — Mark Alan Lovewell

But he acknowledged that key personnel decisions, including to fill open positions such as treasurer and port captain, are moving at a “glacial” pace.

And he said internal improvements are needed, even if it means shifting away from the boat line’s traditional emphasis on the bottom line.

“To be frank, one of my goals is to keep the fares as low as possible, but not to the detriment of the company,” Mr. Hanover said.

He said governors plan to address the next steps at public round table discussions throughout the winter months, including on the Island although none have been scheduled yet. Mr. Hanover said he plans to propose changes of his own, including upgrades to the SSA website and reservation system.

“That’s where we’re going to set the course,” he said.

Commissioners raised questions about how the SSA can improve its communications. (A separate report by consultants at HMS was delayed and is due to follow early this year.)

Newly sworn-in commissioner Keith Chatinover suggested more transparency would be a good place to start.

“I think a lot of people on the Island, right or wrong, feel they don’t understand how the Steamship works,” Mr. Chatinover said. “I feel that anything that can be made public should be made public.”

Commissioners Christine Todd and Leon Brathwaite asked for an update on the $60 million Woods Hole terminal demolition and reconstruction project that is eight weeks behind schedule and has faced public backlash over the design.

Mr. Hanover said contractors plan to make up the time over the winter. And he said the new terminal is urgently needed, even if the final design isn’t perfect.

“At some point a decision has to be made and I don’t think everyone will be happy,” he said.

Meanwhile, a petition formally opposing the new terminal design continues to gather steam. An update from petitioners sent to SSA general manager Robert Davis on Thursday morning showed the petition had 625 signatures.

In other business Wednesday, commissioners voted to elect Gretchen Tucker Underwood as the new board chairman and Tristan Israel as vice-chairman.

They also set a Feb. 1 deadline for applicants for two seats on the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission. Commissioners Kristin Zern and Don Ogilvie are up for reappointment. Ms. Zern plans to seek reappointment. Mr. Ogilvie said he is undecided.

The positions will be advertised, county manager Martina Thornton said.

Interviews will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at the county administration building.

There are seven members of the airport commission with staggered terms. All are appointed by the county commission.

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact county manager Martina Thornton for more information.