Taylor destroying state's ferry system

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What would you call Robin Taylor, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities deputy commissioner of marine transportation, if he worked in the private sector? You'd call him fired.

Consider his recent failures:

He left a $34 million asset, the new fast ferry Chenega, tied to the dock unused except by the marine growth collecting on the hulls.

He didn't initiate the required training for a potential Chenega crew even though the state had years of advance notice on the need for such training.

In all fairness, let's also look at his recent successes:

He spent at least $38,000 to leave the Chenega tied up at a private dock in Auke Bay and who knows how much for two employees to baby-sit the idle vessel 24/7, week after week.

He frittered away almost two months of the Chenega's warranty period. The state paid for an 18-month warranty on the Chenega. The warranty obligates the builder to repair design and construction flaws discovered within the first 18 months that the state owns the vessel. Flaws generally are discovered only when the vessel is operated. The state owned the Chenega for almost two months without operating it. Tick-tock, Robin.

He's preparing to shell out for a second Chenega maintenance facility in Ketchikan to meet Coast Guard requirements. We've already built one maintenance facility for the Chenega in Cordova.

But Robin is the governor's political appointee. His failures and successes must be measured against that template. The only performance standard he's expected to meet is keeping Frank happy. If Robin has the business acumen and management skills of a punch-drunk boxer, well, so be it. As long as it's all right with Frank, Robin can toy with the ferry system as he wishes, without regard for the best interest of the state. Wait, a deputy commissioner gets to define the best interest of the state. Hard to believe, but Robin Taylor apparently defines it as the slow destruction of the ferry system through capricious scheduling, profligate spending and (in)actions that are rich in personal agenda and poor in public service.

Lynn Escola


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