When Mark Scharringhausen left in 1995 as Fairfield City Council’s Third Ward representative, Ron D’Epifanio took his spot.
On Monday, Scharringhausen, a 16-year council veteran, was sworn-in to take the late council member’s at-large council seat.
“While it’s not a joyous occasion, it’s necessary,” said Scharringhausen, who took his oath next to D’Epifanio’s widow, Patty, and daughter, Lynne.
“I think the best way we can honor Ron’s legacy is to just move forward and continue to make Fairfield the best possible place we can to live, to work and to raise a family. He dedicated many, many years to doing that.”
D’Epifanio was elected in 2005 and 2009 as mayor of Fairfield and also in 1995, 1999 and 2017 as a City Council member. He died on Jan. 21 surrounded by his family at Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital after a brief illness. He was 78.
Scharringhausen also recognized another former council member, the late Howard Dirksen, who died in December. He said he would use his City Council experience, and years of experience volunteering within the community “and try to build on” the legacies left by D’Epfianio and Dirksen to “carry forward and make good decisions for the city, for our residents, for our employees.”
Per the city charter, Fairfield City Council was charged with selecting a person to succeed D’Epifanio. Nine people submitted resumes, and Scharringhausen was one of four interviewed on Saturday, to fill the remaining two years of D’Epifanio’s term.
Scharringhausen, 61, previously served on City Council from December 1987 to November 1995, and then again from January 1998 to December 2005. His two tenures were during periods of both turmoil and great growth.
GM’s Fisher Body stopped its Fairfield auto parts plant operations in 1987 and closed in the first quarter of 1989. The business was the city’s largest employer and equated to 28 percent of the city’s income tax revenues ($1.7 million).
But City Council and the city administration worked to diversify its tax base and bring in new businesses.
During his tenure, City Council also brought online the city’s Village Green, which brought a new Fairfield Lane Library, Community Arts Center, park and residential area. It’s been since known as Fairfield’s downtown area.
Scharringhausen retried from GE Aviation in July 2019 after 34 years. In addition to his previous City Council experience, served as a past trustee and treasurer for Fairfield Community Foundation, and a member of the Fairfield Forward comprehensive plan steering committee.
He’s also a volunteer for St. Vincent DePaul.
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