This was originally posted to: Guemes Island Ferry Committee

GIFC Minutes 2019-06-18

Call to order

A meeting of Guemes Island Ferry Committee (GIFC) was held at Guemes Library on June 18, 2019 starting at 7:02 pm. Attendees included: Allen Bush, John Hopkins, Sandy McKean, David Prewitt, Bud Ullman. Members not in attendance included: whomever. Guests in attendance included Barb Ohms, Tom Fouts, Edith Walden, and Phyllis Bravinder.

Approval of minutes

Minutes of the May 21, 2019 meeting were approved as presented.


At our June 9th Quarterly Meeting, we collected an additional $180 toward election expenses. Tonight, meeting guest Tom Fouts generously offered to write us a check for an additional $100. This leaves us with $80 still to collect to totally reimburse Allen for the election expenses.

The US Department of Transportation has a grant program that funds for ferry related capital projects. The county has used $1.2MM of these funds that it has received over the years to complete the design of the new ferry (much of it going to the Naval Architecture firm Glosten).

There was a recent meeting on the island to discuss changes to the Anacortes School District bus service that serves pupils on the island. The bus schedule must soon change due to the shift of starting hours for secondary schools from 7:45am to 8:05am, as well as other school bus scheduling changes. The new schedule must be coordinated with the ferry schedule so that pupils who live on the island do not have to wait or remain unchaperoned for too long a period of time. Providing the school bus service may require hiring a bus driver who lives on the island. The school district is looking to hire an islander to work 6 hours per day for 180 days per year. The position would pay $22.00 per hour. There will be further meetings this summer to work out these logistic changes.

It was thought that the extended marine survey of the ferry done at the last haul-out will be ready for review next month.

Unfinished business

BERK Study

All members of the GIFC and several other islanders attended a meeting on June 13th at the Anacortes Library along with ferry management from the county, BERK Consultants, and KPFF Consulting Engineers where the consultants presented an overview of the operations and service analysis they are doing of the Guemes Island Ferry system. The study will address staffing, scheduling, ticketing, loading/unloading, and other items for the ferry system. BERK called this June 13th meeting specifically solicit input from the GIFC and other interested members of the public. All members of the GIFC were appreciative that the county and the consultants considered islander and GIFC input important. Calling this meeting was a clear recognition of the GIFC's role as part of providing our ferry service.

A number of specific observations were made by various GIFC members: ?

Sandy felt that the GIFC gave valuable input to the consultants, and that the consultants seemed quite knowledgeable of our specific Guemes Island ferry operations and issues. ?

Allen felt that the consultant's presentation seemed to present conflicting views of the countywide growth plan and the Guemes Island subarea plan. ?

Bud wanted to be sure that the study considered the values and objectives of the Guemes Island subarea plan. In particular, how enhanced ferry operation might affect Guemes Island population growth. ?

Dave and Sandy did not think it was appropriate to limit ferry service as a tool to slow down growth. Their view was that other considerations were more appropriate to manage growth (e.g., availability of water, zoning). In any case, the interaction of the ferry service with the subarea plan was more in the purview of GIPAC rather than GIFC. ?

Bud thought the consultants were relying too heavily on the results of the two public input surveys done in the last couple of years. Most of the ferry service improvement needs the consultants identified were based on these surveys when not all islanders provided input to the survey. Sandy had the opposite view since those surveys were the best data anyone has on the overall priorities of islanders; and that no survey ever captures the input from all possible stakeholders. ?

John expressed the hope that the consultants would not reopen the contentious subject of major changes to the ferry schedule. A few improvements would be fine (e.g., filling the midday gap), but that major changes such as earlier ferries or later ferries or other major ferry schedule changes that could change the character of island life would be a mistake since it could open wounds from the major battles of years ago.


Dave reworked the GIFC structure documents we discussed at the May meeting to integrate the 50+ tasks (some combined, others eliminated) into the structure documents. The three attachments are the current form of these structure documents (designated v2). The “Core Areas of Competency” document content is relatively unchanged (other than the integration of the aforementioned task list), but now includes the persons accountable for each area. The previous Ad Hoc Areas of Focus document is now called “Current Areas of Focus”; additional names have been added to this document also. Finally a new document was created entitled “Formal Roles”; its purpose is to define a set of officers, and the responsibilities of those officers. These positions do not yet formally exist since that will require a change to our Charter, but the document defines the direction we are going, and will eventually be reflected in any new set of bylaws the GIFC may adopt in the future.

New Business

GIFC Quarterly Meetings

In order to make it easier for islanders, especially part-timers, to plan for and attend GIFC quarterly meetings, the GIFC will establish a fixed schedule each year for these meetings. For example, these meetings could be held on the 3rd weekend in the months of January, April, July, and October. Furthermore, at least one of the meetings could be held on a week night. Daytime meetings could be held from 2:00pm to 3:30pm; whereas nighttime meetings could be held from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.

Capital vs O&M Expense

The ongoing issue of which ferry costs are considered, or should be considered, as a capital expense verses a operations and maintenance expense (O&M) was raised once again a the June 9th quarterly meeting. This distinction is particularly important to islanders because O&M expenses are partially recovered via fare revenues whereas capital expenses are not. If a cost item is categorized as O&M, that cost will tend to raise fares. There has been much debate over the years about how to make these categorization decisions; furthermore, some of the standards used to make these decisions are codified in legislation. The GIFC would like to enter into specific discussions with the county to resolve this issue.


Approval of Minutes [Motion made by Sandy; seconded by Bud, and approved by a 5-0 vote] Minutes of the GIFC monthly meetings will be emailed or otherwise transmitted to all GIFC members within 5 days of the meeting. GIFC members will then have 5 days to approve the minutes via email or other communication. Once approved, the minutes will be posted on various websites and available for islanders to read.

Action Items

Create a list of motions (in spreadsheet form) which will document all motions made and passed by the GIFC. Each motion will be qualified by characteristics such that the list of motions can be sorted in various ways. (Sandy)

Determine if there is a way to issue “auto-respond” replies to emails sent to the GIFC's Linetime email address. (Allen)

Reply to any outstanding emails sent to the GIFC's Linetime email address. (Bud)

Insure that the GIFC's curated page on Linetime is properly organized and that all sets of minutes from 2018 and 2019 are posted and in chronological order. (Allen)

Propose a quarterly meeting schedule for the remainder of 2019 and 2020. (Sandy)

Contact county to initiate capital vs O&M discussions. (Dave)

Develop a list of specific issues that the GIFC might want to raise as input to the BERK study. (Dave and Allen)

Attachments ?

Core_Areas_of_Competency v2 ?

Current_Areas_of_Focus v2 ?

Roles_and_Responsibilities v2

[Notes taken by Sandy McKean]

Tags: GIFC meeting minutes 2019