Pledging a “quick fix,” Vineyard Steamship Authority governor James Malkin told the Dukes County Commission Wednesday that mistakes were made by management over the Oak Bluffs ferry terminal, and he believes the terminal can be ready by mid-June.

“It seems to me to be a fall-down that it wasn’t dealt with quicker,” Mr. Malkin told the commission.

The update came after the SSA officials received a report last week detailing serious damage to the Oak Bluffs pier. In a Friday phone call to the Oak Bluffs town administrator and one selectman, Mr. Malkin and general manager Bob Davis quietly floated the possibility of closing the terminal for the summer. That sparked a fiery email exchange over the weekend between the chairman of the selectmen and Mr. Malkin — and calls for the firing of Mr. Davis.

But at the county meeting Wednesday, Mr. Malkin backed away from the possibility that the terminal would close for the summer, instead promising that the SSA would do everything in its power to have the terminal open as soon as possible, even given the difficulty of finding workers during the Covid-19 crisis. He set June 15 as the proposed date for opening.

“The information I have as of this morning is that it’s anticipated we can get a quick fix done, if we can get the bids out on time, which we intend to do,” Mr. Malkin said. “So the look is currently to have something in place to have an operating pier for vehicles and passengers June 15.”

The Oak Bluffs terminal normally opens in mid-May and closes in mid-October.

County commissioners pressed Mr. Malkin in stern terms about the logistics of the terminal, necessary repairs and its opening date. The county is the appointing authority for the Vineyard boat line governor, and only recently appointed Mr. Malkin to his first term, in February, after longtime Vineyard governor Marc Hanover stepped down.

According to Mr. Malkin, he immediately called for a meeting with Oak Bluffs town leaders after an engineering report came out in late March detailing the need for repairs to the wooden wharf at the ferry terminal. Among other things the report identified 35 pilings that needed repairs, making two spots on the dock unsafe for vehicles. Mr. Malkin admitted that the information should have been known — and acted on — more quickly by SSA management.

“I have discussed in detail with Bob Davis that this is something that should have been gotten on sooner,” Mr. Malkin said. “That information was known at least to a number of people in the organization and was not acted upon and that’s not the kind of operation I would expect going forward.”

Commissioner Keith Chatinover asked Mr. Malkin why there was a four-month gap between October, when the SSA approved a budget that included funds for the survey of the Oak Bluffs dock, and February, when the survey took place. Mr. Malkin said the extent of the damage was not known until the new head of marine operations took a dinghy under the pier in February, and that repairs to the pier generally occur after the winter storm season.

“The money was put in the budget, but the money wasn’t available until the next year in January,” Mr. Malkin said. “Having said that, going forward, what should be in the budget in the current year is money to start the work for the next year. That could have been done with a different operational mindset or protocol at the end of the year if you had money left over to do just that. And to me, that’s something that should happen.”

Commissioner Christine Todd asked if the option of closing the terminal for the entire summer was off the table. Mr. Malkin replied that he would advocate for its reopening at the monthly board meeting Tuesday. Ms. Todd chided Mr. Malkin for not including the entire Island — particularly the main port town of Tisbury — in any discussion about closing the Oak Bluffs terminal.

“Tisbury should have been a part of this all along,” she said. “Whatever happens in Oak Bluffs is going to directly affect Tisbury and to not have them in the loop immediately is just unthinkable. So, Jim, whatever you can do to change the culture there, it’s totally unacceptable that we’re not approaching this from an Islandwide perspective.”

Mr. Malkin said he had spoken with Tisbury selectmen and acknowledged their concern about the potential for increased traffic, if the SSA were to run all ferries through Vineyard Haven in the summer.

Tisbury town administrator John (Jay) Grande, who attended the county meeting via teleconference, made a point of saying that the call to Tisbury came after the fact.

“I got my phone call from Bob Davis yesterday, and we had a conversation that was very helpful, but that was only yesterday, so I don’t want people left with the impression that that conversation took place last week,” Mr. Grande said.

Oak Bluffs selectman Brian Packish also attended the meeting and reiterated his call for the firing of Mr. Davis, describing what he viewed as major management problems and failures of leadership. He said the problems will persist, regardless of whether the pier can be fixed this summer.

“We have a trust issue, and that’s what all of this boils down to,” Mr. Packish said. “It’s not a question of if there’s going to be another problem, it’s a question of when the next problem is going to come up.”

But Mr. Malkin pushed back against the calls to fire Mr. Davis. “Mr. Davis is appointed by a five-member board of governors and nothing can be done unilaterally,” Mr. Malkin said. “And Mr. Davis has the support of the governors.”