PORT TOWNSEND — The new state transportation secretary on Monday received high praise from state House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler for continuing to change the management and culture of state ferries and the agency that runs them.
Kessler called Paula Hammond “a gem” who will solve the state ferry agency’s problems.
“It was a culture that was so strange,” said Rep. Kessler, D-Hoquiam, addressing more than 100 attending Monday’s Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Fort Worden State Park Commons.
“Paula is shaking up management and a culture,” Kessler said.
“Leave it to a woman — just kidding.”
Kessler, who is one of two House of Representatives members for Jefferson and Clallam counties and part of Grays Harbor County, said ferry system engineers appeared to her to be clueless about ferry rebuilding options on the table last year.
It took representatives of three companies, Nichols Bros. Boatbuilders Inc., JM Martinac and Todd Shipyards, to come up with a solution to build three new ferries for the Port Townsend-Keystone ferry route on the fast track.