We are all aware of the extremely serious implications of the limited and undependable ferry service to Whidbey Island. The Nov. 2 ferry town hall with our legislative representatives and John Vezina from Washington State Ferries was very informative. Mr. Vezina gave an excellent picture of the problems State Ferries is facing and how they are dealing with them using the limited resources available.
Unfortunately, the entire hour passed without a single word from either State Ferries or our legislators about solving the serious long-time issues. There was no plan put forward regarding solving the staffing issues. Where is the incentive pay, how are they going to change the first two years of on call which appears to result, according to the Seattle Times, in a 70 to 80 % attrition rate after one year of new maritime employees?
The police department in Seattle is offering incentive pay for new recruits. When is the state legislature going to find a way to adequately support infrastructure in our state? Yes, we are going to get some new ferries, but if there is no one to crew them it does all of us little good. Ultimately it is the responsibility of our Washington state government and our representatives to solve this or every resident and business on Whidbey Island will be faced with a significant negative impact on our economy and quality of life.