“Nunc Pro Tunc,” After the Face Purchasing Approval

You can read the last substantive item on the Tuesday McHenry County Agenda below:

Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of a Used 2015 Chevrolet Silverado Pickup Truck Nunc Pro Tunc for the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency in FY2016.

There are two aspects of this agenda item that should cause people to raise their eyebrows:

  1. its being last on the agenda. (In appropriations bills in Springfield, I always started reading from the back, because that’s where Mike Madigan’s staff put the really questionable stuff.)
  2. the use of a language other than English

So what does “Nunc Pro Tunc” mean?

I took two years of Latin, but was unfamiliar with the term.

Used in court it means retroactively doing something to correct an earlier ruling.

We’re not dealing with a court here though.

The memo given the County Board by Administration to after the fact approval to buy a Chevy Silverado Pickup Truck.

We’re talking about the purchase of a Silverado Chevy Pickup Truck without getting approval.

The reason such approval was not given, according to the memo was new Chairman Jack Franks’ cancellation of committees in December.

That, however, is not accurate, because the pickup was purchased with last Fiscal Year’s money and that Fiscal Year ended on November 30th.

The issue first showed up at the last Revenue Committee meeting.

Former Finance Committee Chairman Mary McCann talked about the one-year old truck with 28,000 miles that had been bought for a good price.

“They hold their value,” she said.

It appears that either Ralph Sarbaugh or Peter Austin found they had money that had not been spent at the end of last year and decided to buy the truck.

Jim Kearns

Sarbaugh took the heat in the meeting.

With plenty of trepidation, committee members decided to send the issue to the County Board.

When the issue came to the County Board, Huntley’s Jim Kearns observed it appeared to be a deal with these characteristics:

“Buy now, get approval later, ask forgiveness.”

There was a heated debate with Yvonne Barnes, a skeptical member of the Finance Committee, expressing strong displeasure.

Mike Skala

Coming to the defense of the purchase was Finance Committee Chairman Mike Skala.

“What do we do with a truck we’ve already purchased?”

Mary McCann

His predecessor as Finance Committee Chairman, Mary McCann, added,

“In the past we have given staff leeway.”

Peter Austin

Administrator Austin took responsibility for the purchase before the Board, explaining that money was left over last year and it was “purchased the last week in November.”

“We won’t do it again,” he added.

The vote to approve the purchase retroactively failed on an 11-11 tie vote.

A motion was made to reconsider that vote, which passed 14-8.

Then by the same margin, the issue was tabled until the February 21st Board meeting.

That was right before the Board adjourned at 11:15 PM.


“Nunc Pro Tunc,” After the Face Purchasing Approval — 19 Comments

  1. Wasn’t this big spender just given a contract renewal by the board?

  2. 2015 Chevrolet Silverado Pickup Truck?

    Shouldn’t our gov’s be buying the most American made stuff like a Toyota Tundra?

  3. So, we, the taxpayers, had the States Attorney Parliamentarian present.

    The “little liar” had HIS OWN Parliamentarian present (I don’t know if we the taxpayers were paying for him also).

    Last year, two ‘buddies’ (Tryon and McConnaughay) of the “little liar” had a law passed in Springfield to allow the casting of tie – breaking votes by the “little liar”.

    This week there two ties and the Chairman did not vote.


    The Governor has not yet signed the bill.

    Is this why the “little liar” made such a forceful speech relative to an advisory ballot question?


  4. When will the Internal Support & Facilities Committee discuss the funding for Franks’ Parliamentarian, Executive Assistant and Communications Specialist?

    I’d also like to know when new liaison assignments will be made for commissions and other bards?

  5. Instead of automatically jumping on this as per se wrong, how about you ask a few questions.

    First, was there a need for the vehicle?

    It appears that there was since it was purchased to replace an older vehicle and the reason that it was purchased was to assist in emergency response, including helping transport emergency responders.

    Second, was it money spent wisely?

    Again, yes, it appears that it was.

    It’s a used, low-mileage vehicle which appears to have been purchased at a good price.

    Third, did the staff technically do anything wrong?

    Looks like they made a judgment call in purchasing this without formal approval even though it may have gone over the $20,000 cap.

    Ok, technically they were wrong, but if it meant saving the county money for a good, quality vehicle that the county needs, I think that it’s an infraction that might be overlooked just this once.

    I see this as smart, bottomline-conscious work.

  6. The bureaucrats need to start following procedure!

    Corruption begins at home.

  7. Why don’t you check CarMax for the cost of similar vehicles?

  8. Give me the details of the vehicle purchased and the purchase price, and I’d be happy to.

  9. Pretty cavalier attitude regarding taxpayer money.

    The issue of County vehicles usually makes me vomit as every er… person seems to have one.

    Drive around the government center and take a look.

    Free gas, free insurance.

  10. Why is not the purchase price mentioned?

    How much?

    There are an average of 700 pickup trucks sold at the Milwaukee Auto Auction every week.

    Also, auctions in Rockford and Chicago.

  11. This was typical end of the year “if we don’t spend every cent in our budget we’ll lose it” bureaucratic thinking.

    If the guy who approved this truck purchase is the same guy who helped Jack Franks hire his two apparatchiks, then he has to go.

  12. There is no way of even guessing what the truck is worth without knowing what options it has.

    You can pay under $25k for a new 2wd base model Silverado, and you can easily go over $50k for a loaded 4wd.

  13. Is the following process, outlined in the County Purchasing Ordinance, relevant to this situation and, if so, is it being followed:


    (1) Procedure for Addressing Non-compliance for Purchases Under $30,000.
    The County Auditor shall not process any payment for Goods, Supplies, Services, or Construction (except for Professional Services, the procedures for which are set forth in S12-105(2)) unless such procurement was in compliance with the terms of this Ordinance. If the County Auditor is requested to process any payment that is not in compliance with this Ordinance, the Auditor shall, after consultation with the State’s Attorney, promptly report such request and the nature of the non-compliance to the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee. If the purchase amount is $30,000 or less, and, if the procurement is not in violation of State or Federal law, then the Department Head or Elected Official making the request of the Auditor for payment, shall present the matter to the Finance and Audit Committee which, if a majority of the members present vote to approve the non-compliant expenditure, may submit its recommendation to approve the non-compliant expenditure by Resolution to the County Board for its consideration.

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