As Commissioner Bus Scharmann prepares to leave office, he looked back at some of the Board of Commissioners’ achievements during the eight years he served as the District One representative.
But first, he reflected on his decision to run for elected office back in 2012.
“In my career, I had always answered to boards like this - whether the local school board, the Board of Regents (for the Nevada System of Higher Education) or advisory boards – and I wanted a feel for the other side of the process,” he said, noting that the last time he ran for elected office was in the eighth grade.
He sought advice from friends and other elected officials, including former Mayor and City Councilman Bob Erickson, Stuart Richardson, former County Manager Brad Goetsch and former County Commissioners Lynn Pearce and Norm Frey in making his decision.
Scharmann, who retired as dean of Western Nevada College’s Fallon Campus in 2011, took a year off from public service before jumping back in 2012 to serve as interim superintendent of the Churchill County School District for a year. During that year, he got the budget in order, uplifted morale and conducted a nationwide search for his replacement all while campaigning for commissioner.
- Response to COVID (2020) – Scharmann believes Churchill County is handling the response to COVID as well as it can, given the controls from the state and federal levels. “We are utilizing federal resources to the best of our ability and our staff has been phenomenal in stepping up and responding.”
- The Big Dig (2017) – “We saved the City of Fallon and the county from flooding with a huge effort and cooperation among agencies. Chairman Olsen did a wonderful job mobilizing our efforts.” He praised the cooperative nature between local, state and federal agencies and the relationships built by county staff with those agencies and their staffs, along with the phenomenal efforts of local farmers and ranchers.
- William N. Pennington Life Center (opened 2017) – “During my time as president of the Senior Center Coalition Board, we were able to build a new life center and thanks to former county controller Alan Kalt’s relationship with the Pennington Foundation, they were able to help us do that.”
- County Law Enforcement Center/Sheriff’s Office (opened 2017)– “We had a concern about safety in the old facilities and were able to move beyond just talking about it to actually building it.”
- Cantaloupe Festival (2014-2015) – Scharmann took over as chair of the Cantaloupe Festival about five years ago and under his leadership brought the festival and Country Fair together as one successful event. “Helping with that effort was very rewarding for me,” he said.
- Western Nevada College Nursing Program/Restore Our College Campus Committee – Scharmann created the committee to help save the Fallon Campus during a time of severe budget cuts and was successful in doing so. He was also instrumental in getting the WNC nursing program returned to Fallon and is hopeful it will remain here in the future.
- Economic development & housing (2019-present) – Scharmann lists the county’s renewed efforts for economic development and affordable housing as a regret he will have for leaving the commission as he won’t be able to see it come to pass while on the board. “I am glad I was able to contribute to aligning the county to see the opportunities for affordable housing and to see new companies coming in.” Scharmann thanks the vision of Tim Tucker for helping him to see the possibility for a Churchill Hazen Industrial Park.
- Navy expansion (2016-present)– Scharmann points to the cohesiveness of the commissioners in fighting for what’s important to Churchill County vis-à-vis the Navy’s expansion efforts. “We’ve worked hard for the things that are important to the county such as the elimination of some of the wilderness study areas and the acquisition of lands adjacent to the railroad to free them up for economic development.”
- Nevada Department of Transportation (2019) – Scharmann was recognized by NDOT for his work to install the traffic signal at Highway 50 and the Sheckler Cut-off.
Scharmann points to the county’s strong relationship with the City of Fallon as being a key component to all the successes he enjoyed while serving as commissioner.
Commission and board work
In his role on the Board of Commissioners, Scharmann has served on several local and regional committees and boards including CC Communications, Churchill Area Regional Transportation, Central Nevada Regional Water Authority, Highway Commission, Hospital Board, Liquor Board, Parks & Recreation Commission, Regional Transportation Commission, Senior Citizens Coalition and the Western Nevada Development District.
County Parks & Recreation Director Jorge Guerrero said Bus was instrumental in pushing forward and getting much needed improvements and upgrades at the fairgrounds, including upgraded electrical in the Cantaloupe Festival Area.
“He also was influential in getting the Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair moved to the weekend before Labor Day. Bus has always been active and involved with the Parks and Recreation Department and bringing many ideas to the Park and Recreation Commission board meetings,” Guerrero said.
Lisa Erquiaga, director of the Pennington Life Center, has high praise for Scharmann’s time on her board.
“On behalf of all our employees, both past and present, we would like to thank Bus for his years of service to the Coalition of Senior Citizens/William N. Pennington Life Center,” she said. “One of Bus’ biggest projects, in my opinion, was supporting the creation, development, and completion of the William N. Pennington Life Center complex in 2017. We all thank him for the hard work he performed as the task master for this great building endeavor.”
As he faces his second retirement, Scharmann plans to travel and spend more time with his kids and grandkids who live Idaho and Utah. He and his wife, Lana, also would like to spend a couples’ service mission with their church.