I would like to bring the following article to the attention of the GCaptain community:
For people that have the time to watch it, the video of the hearing itself is REALLY good. I think this link should take you to the page to view it:
What it all means is that right now is a really critical time for the future of Marine licensing. The House of Representatives is out of session right now, but they will re-convene on September 7th. Sometime after that, Captain Stalfort will again be before Congressman Cummings, trying to respond to the criticisms that have been made of the NMC.
Before that happens, Cummings needs to know that the backlog that caused the initial hearing isn’t just a flap in an otherwise acceptable performance by the NMC. He needs to know that it has been a constant pattern for the NMC to provide terrible service, and he needs to know that whatever band-aids the Captain may be attempting to apply won’t fix the problems.
So write to your Congressperson now! Don’t wait until your transaction at the NMC is being held up before you start writing letters. If you will ever have dealings with the NMC again, or even if you just care about service from the government that is remotely decent, send a letter, or multiple letters. I wrote to Cummings, but honestly I am not sure who is the best person to write. Legislation that could make a difference would need to pass both the House and the Senate, but should you write your own representative, or the persons on the Transportation committee? I am not sure the answer to that.
A motion could be re-started to move the licensing functions out of the Coast Guard to a different part of the government. This would mean the Coasties that are there would be relieved of their duties, and sent on to positions that would probably be more beneficial to their careers anyways. There would be accountability for the civilians there now, who have run the program into the ground.
Maybe the new program could be run by our heralded Mr. Cavo? If he had more control over the situation, I am sure things would improve. What about REC Houston Chief Larry Griffin, who successfully lead the Tiger team (mentioned in the Hearing) in reducing the backlog? How about any of the other civilians with experience in the program, who left in disgust at how things were going: Andy Hammond, Richard Wells, or Norleen Schumer?
Think about it: The person who determines your physical fitness to serve aboard a vessel could be the doctor who actually examines you. The person who evaluates your qualifications to safely operate could be someone who has actually worked aboard vessels before.
The stories of incompetence, inconsistency, and unresponsiveness abound on this site, and on other sites as well. Don’t let Congress make decisions that will have such an impact without knowing how bad it is. Don’t accept the poor service as an inevitability. It doesn’t have to be this way…