Dukes County commissioners moved briskly through interviews with candidates for the next Vineyard Steamship Authority governor, interviewing nine people in three and a quarter hours Wednesday afternoon.

The meeting took place at the Vineyard Transit Authority offices to accommodate the public. About 14 people attended.

Ten Islanders have filed applications to replace outgoing Island governor Marc Hanover. One, Jacqueline Noel of West Tisbury, was unable to be at this week’s meeting. Her interview will take place next week, commission chairman Tristan Israel said.

As the meeting got underway, county commissioner Leon Brathwaite, who is one of the 10 candidates, read a brief statement recusing himself from the process. Mr. Brathwaite then took a seat in the audience.

The SSA position is unpaid, but governors receive free passage on the ferry. There are five boat line governors, one from each port community (Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Falmouth, Barnstable and New Bedford). The two Island governors have a weighted vote of 35 per cent each, giving them a combined majority.

With commissioner Gretchen Tucker-Underwood absent, a reduced commission of Christine Todd, Keith Chatinover, John Cahill, John Alley and Mr. Israel conducted the interviews Wednesday.

Candidates were given three to five minutes to introduce themselves before three questions, provided in advance, were asked of each:

What do you envision for the future of the Steamship Authority?

What should be done to improve service to the citizens of Martha’s Vineyard and how would you advocate for that?

What role do you see for the Steamship Authority in responding to climate change and environmental challenges?

Commissioners then posed additional questions of their own, such as how the candidates would foster communication with Islanders and what their views are on adding a fast ferry service.

Commissioner Keith Chatinover also asked each candidate for a pledge not to contribute to any commissioner’s election campaign. All agreed.

Mr. Brathwaite was interviewed first, after which he left the meeting. The other candidates were interviewed in the order in which their applications were received by the commission.

Mr. Brathwaite, a retired executive who lives in West Tisbury, said he would like to be part of the SSA board that chooses the next ferry, which he said should be a hybrid electric-diesel. “Their carbon footprint needs to be addressed,” he said.

Chilmark selectman Jim Malkin said he had consulted the state ethics commission to confirm there would be no conflict of interest with his elected position, and cited his long experience in transportation and management. “The Steamship Authority needs to build what I call an execution culture, where things get done,” he said.

Angela Cywinski of Vineyard Haven, an operations supervisor for UPS, called for more transparency, better customer service and heightened routine maintenance of ferries. “Maintenance is key,” she said.

Allen Carney, a retired executive from Aquinnah, told commissioners he would foster teamwork among the Steamship Authority board members and seek to understand how the public views the boat line’s current services. “The inward focus of the Steamship Authority really calls for new ideas and innovation to come in a variety of ways,” he said.

Elmer Vanderhoop, a retired emergency medical technician and former Aquinnah selectman, said the boat line should give Islanders waiting to take their cars on the ferry preference over vacationers. “I think there should be a little allowance for somebody who’s trying to get home,” he said.

Michael Lyons, a delivery truck driver from Oak Bluffs, said while he sees alternative fuels as a possibility in the future, there are other ways the Steamship Authority can be more energy-efficient. “Fix the schedule, so the boats aren’t sitting around,” he said.

Rob Lytle, a project manager from Oak Bluffs, said he would advocate forcefully, but politely, for Islanders’ needs and suggested a newsletter to make SSA information more readily available to ferry riders. “The future of the Steamship Authority is that it belongs to us,” he said.

Trip Barnes, a retired trucker from Vineyard Haven who serves on the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, called for regular public updates from the SSA and said he would be available to Islanders by phone at any hour. “I never shut my phone off,” he said.

Jane Edmonds of Oak Bluffs, a business executive and vice president at Babson College, vowed to be accessible to Islanders and questioned whether a fast ferry would meet the boat line’s strategic needs. “Sometimes I think we rush to a solution without a full appreciation of what the problem is,” she said.

The commission is expected to vote on a choice in early March, likely March 4, Mr. Israel said.

“It may be the 11th, but we’re looking at the fourth,” he said.