Vineyard Steamship Authority governor and freshman board member James Malkin came under harsh criticism from his fellow governors Tuesday over public comments he made last week about SSA finances, the Oak Bluffs pier and other boat line matters.

Nantucket governor Robert Ranney and New Bedford governor Moira Tierney lambasted Mr. Malkin for his comments, which were made at the Dukes County Commission meeting and in a followup interview, calling them “gross,” “reckless,” “wanton” and “irresponsible,” among other unfavorable terms.

Mr. Malkin later apologized for any misstatements he had made.

Speaking to the county commission at their meeting May 6, Mr. Malkin, who was appointed to the position in February, was openly critical of the handling by management of certain boat line matters, including the Oak Bluffs pier project, a video of the meeting shows. He also appeared to distance himself from the other four boat line governors, saying their interests were not necessarily the interests of the Vineyard, and he raised questions about the latest financial audit for the SSA, which he said was unavailable.

“I’ve asked for it and I will continue to ask for it,” Mr. Malkin told the county commission, speaking about the audit.

Speaking about the Oak Bluffs pier repair project, Mr. Malkin told the county commission that Ms. Tierney and Falmouth governor Kathryn Wilson were steadfastly against the project.

It later came to light that the SSA audits are routinely late, and on Tuesday Mr. Malkin corrected himself and apologized.

But governors wasted no time criticizing Mr. Malkin, suggesting that his statements had been particularly hurtful to SSA general manager Robert Davis and boat line treasurer Mark Rozum.

“I’m horrified by the light that you have placed both Mr. Davis and Mr. Rozum in,” Ms. Tierney told Mr. Malkin. “Their reputations have been hurt by your reckless comments.”

Mr. Ranney opened the meeting by reading a statement, saying he was “shocked and offended” by Mr. Malkin’s comments and that they left him “questioning whether the working camaraderie that the two Islands enjoyed together was in jeopardy.”

The Vineyard and Nantucket governors carry a weighted a majority vote on the board. For many years the two Islands, while not always in agreement, have had an amiable working relationship on the SSA board.

Mr. Ranney took particular umbrage with Mr. Malkin’s characterization of the financial audit. He said the way Mr. Malkin raised the audit issue suggested wrongdoing that did not occur, fomented unmerited public concern about boat line management and cast the organization as a whole in a negative light.

“To come on this board as a new member, and immediately start lobbing bombshells suggesting even a hint of impropriety, and that by suggestion we are all party to it, before acquiring any meaningful understanding of the inner workings of the entire operation, only serves to fuel derisive public speculation, and is counterproductive to maintaining, or in some cases, regaining, public trust,” Mr. Ranney said.

Mr. Ranney and Ms. Tierney lashed out at Mr. Malkin for approximately 20 minutes, saying that it was more important than ever right now to offer support for management and not undermine faith in the boat line. Mr. Ranney said during his eight years as a governor, he had never found a problem with the boat line’s financial statements.

“The only fault I have found is the unrelenting dedication to follow the board’s directive, and to go above and beyond,” the Nantucket governor said.

Ms. Tierney — a frequent critic of boat line management herself — was also adamant in defending the integrity of Mr. Davis and other senior managers. She also took issue with Mr. Malkin’s characterization of her stance on the Oak Bluffs pier project, and questioned his trustworthiness.

“I resent the fact that you grossly mischaracterized my comments,” Ms. Tierney said. “I would ask you to refrain from making any representation in the future about what I do, or how I vote, or my positions, as you can’t be relied upon to report the same accurately.”

After the governors made their statements, and Ms. Wilson added some criticisms of her own, Mr. Malkin responded. He apologized for his mischaracterization of the governors’ stance on the Oak Bluffs project. He also said he never intended to suggest malfeasance with his statements about the audit.

“At no time was I suggesting or did I intend to suggest that things were hidden,” Mr. Malkin said. “The concern I had about audited statements has to do with my concern about our cash position and our need for more revenues.”

He thanked the governors for their criticisms, and said he hoped to move forward.

“I hear very loud and clear what has been said by the board members. I accept the constructive criticism, and I recognize that we do have to work as a board and we do have to support the SSA through this unprecedented time,” Mr. Malkin said.

“I appreciate the schooling and look forward to working well with the board and with management to fulfill the mission of the Steamship Authority.”

At an Oak Bluffs selectmen’s meeting later in the day, town leaders defended Mr. Malkin and his performance.

Mr. Malkin attended the meeting to provide an update on the Oak Bluffs pier repairs, which got a green light from the governors at the meeting.

“I know you took a lot of heat today, but just know we’re here to work with you, Jim, and assist you all the way,” selectman Michael Santoro said.

Selectman Greg Coogan told Mr. Malkin to “keep [his] chin up,” and that he was “doing a great job.” And Brian Packish, who has been an outspoken critic of the boat line and its management over the past month, thanked Mr. Malkin for his service and said the SSA board probably needed a little shake-up.

“Quite honestly, if everybody is sitting comfortably and they are in complete agreement with you over at the Steamship Authority board of governors, then I’m concerned you’re not working hard enough,” Mr. Packish said.

“So if you’ve managed to ruffle a few feathers, then quite honestly I say keep doing it, and stay the course.”