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:
- 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.)
- 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.
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.
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.
Coming to the defense of the purchase was Finance Committee Chairman Mike Skala.
His predecessor as Finance Committee Chairman, Mary McCann, added,
“What do we do with a truck we’ve already purchased?”
“In the past we have given staff leeway.”
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.