A-10956, AUGUST 31, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 161

A-10956: Aug 31, 1925

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NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDING IS AUTHORIZED WHERE IT APPEARS AS THE RESULT OF AN INVESTIGATION. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 18. REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO ACCEPT OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID FOR THE INSTALLATION OF ELEVATORS IN THE STATE. IT WAS SAID: THE ACCEPTANCE BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID WOULD ORDINARILY NOT BE QUESTIONED IF THE REASONS ASSIGNED FOR THAT ACTION APPEARED SATISFACTORY. THE ACTION IN THAT RESPECT BY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS IS NOT CONCLUSIVE ON THE ACCOUNTING OFFICE. REQUIRES AT LEAST AN AFFIRMATIVE SHOWING THAT THE LOWEST BID WAS ACCEPTED. IT WAS SAID: THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTES REQUIRING COMPETITION WAS PRIMARILY TO GIVE THE UNITED STATES THE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOWEST AVAILABLE PRICE FOR THE MATERIAL OR SERVICE DESIRED.

A-10956, AUGUST 31, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 161

ADVERTISING - ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN LOWEST BID THE ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID FOR THE INSTALLATION OF ELEVATORS IN THE STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDING IS AUTHORIZED WHERE IT APPEARS AS THE RESULT OF AN INVESTIGATION, BOTH FROM A PRACTICAL AND TECHNICAL STANDPOINT, THAT THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST BID WOULD NOT BE IN THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND PARKS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL, AUGUST 31, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 18, 1925, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO ACCEPT OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID FOR THE INSTALLATION OF ELEVATORS IN THE STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDING.

IN DECISION OF MARCH 3, 1924, 3 COMP. GEN. 604, IT WAS SAID:

THE ACCEPTANCE BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID WOULD ORDINARILY NOT BE QUESTIONED IF THE REASONS ASSIGNED FOR THAT ACTION APPEARED SATISFACTORY, BUT THE ACTION IN THAT RESPECT BY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS IS NOT CONCLUSIVE ON THE ACCOUNTING OFFICE. IT APPEARS, THEREFORE, THAT A SATISFACTORY AUDIT OF EXPENDITURES, WHETHER PURSUANT TO FORMAL OR INFORMAL CONTRACTS, REQUIRES AT LEAST AN AFFIRMATIVE SHOWING THAT THE LOWEST BID WAS ACCEPTED, OR, IF OTHERWISE, A DETAILED STATEMENT OF THE REASONS FOR ACCEPTING OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID.

IN DECISION OF NOVEMBER 18, 1924, A-5714, IT WAS SAID:

THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTES REQUIRING COMPETITION WAS PRIMARILY TO GIVE THE UNITED STATES THE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOWEST AVAILABLE PRICE FOR THE MATERIAL OR SERVICE DESIRED, AND PRESUPPOSES THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST BID CONFORMING TO THE STIPULATED CONDITIONS. WHILE THERE MAY BE NUMEROUS REASONS WHY THE LOWEST BID IS NOT DESIRED TO BE ACCEPTED, A HIGHER BID MAY NOT PROPERLY BE ACCEPTED AND THE INCREASED COSTS PAID ON ACCOUNT THEREOF UNLESS THE REASONS FOR THE REJECTION OF THE LOWER BID ARE OF SUCH MATERIAL CHARACTER AS TO FULLY WARRANT SUCH ACTION AND SUPPORT THE INCREASED CONSIDERATION TO BE PAID ON ACCOUNT THEREOF. COMPETITORS AS WELL AS THE PUBLIC GENERALLY ARE CONCERNED IN THE REJECTION OF LOWER BIDS, AND IF THERE IS ANY SUGGESTION OF INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS THEREFOR THERE MIGHT ARISE ACTIONABLE QUESTIONS OR ADEQUATE BASIS FOR UPSETTING THE ACCEPTANCE OF A HIGHER BID. IF A BIDDER CAN BE REASONABLY PRESUMED TO BE CAPABLE OF PERFORMING HIS PROPOSAL AND CAN GIVE GOOD AND SUFFICIENT SECURITY IN SUPPORT THEREOF THERE WOULD SEEM NO SATISFACTORY REASON WHY HIS BID SHOULD NOT BE ACCEPTED, UNLESS THE SERVICE PROPOSED IS OF SUCH A CHARACTER AS TO REQUIRE OTHER SAFEGUARDS, SUCH AS EXPERIENCE OR TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE NECESSARY TO INSURE COMPLETE PERFORMANCE, ANY FAILURE OF WHICH WOULD SERIOUSLY JEOPARDIZE THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES. THEREFORE THE FACTS WITH REFERENCE TO SUCH MATTERS ARE NECESSARY TO DETERMINE THE LEGALITY OF THE ACTION IN REJECTING LOWER AND ACCEPTING HIGHER BIDS, THE CONCLUSION REACHED IN EACH CASE BEING DEPENDENT UPON THE FACTS.

AFTER THE THOROUGH INVESTIGATION OF THE MATTER IT APPEARS THAT THE SPECIFIC OBJECTIONS TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST BID IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1. THAT THE MACHINES DO NOT OPERATE SMOOTHLY.

2. THAT THE MACHINES AND THE BRAKES IN PARTICULAR REQUIRE AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT OF ATTENTION AND MAINTENANCE.

3. THAT THERE IS CONSIDERABLE TROUBLE WITH OIL LEAKAGE.

4. THAT THE CONTROLLERS (CUTLER-HAMMER) REQUIRE CONSTANT ATTENTION AND FREQUENT RENEWAL OF PARTS.

5. THAT THE CONTROLLERS ARE VERY NOISY.

A DIRECT COMPARISON OF THE EQUIPMENT OFFERED BY THE LOWER BID AND THAT OF THE HIGHER BID SHOWS THAT---

1. THE OHIO MACHINES OFFERED BY THE BLAKE-PALM COMPANY (LOWER BIDDER) ARE CONSIDERABLY LIGHTER IN CONSTRUCTION THAN THE OTIS OR SEE MACHINES.

2. THAT ALL MACHINES ARE SINGLE RAP TRACTION WHILE THE A. B. SEE COMPANY (HIGHER BIDDER) IS OFFERING DOUBLE RAP ON OVERHEAD MACHINES BECAUSE OF RESTRICTED ANGLE OF CONTACT OBTAINABLE IN THESE PARTICULAR LOCATIONS. FOR THESE ELEVATORS THE DOUBLE RAP IS DECIDELY PREFERABLE.

3. THE BLAKE-PALM LAYOUT FOR THE BASEMENT MACHINES REQUIRES THE USING OF A DEFLECTING SHEAVE IN REDUCING A REVERSE BEND IN THE CABLE. THE A. B. SEE BID ELIMINATES THIS EXTRA IDLER AND THE REVERSE BEND.

OBVIOUSLY, IT WOULD NOT BE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES TO MAKE AWARD TO A BIDDER LACKING THE ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATIONS, INTENTIONS, AND MEANS OF SUCCESSFULLY PERFORMING ITS OBLIGATION. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE MATTER HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF A CAREFUL AND MOST THOROUGH INVESTIGATION, BOTH FROM A PRACTICAL AND TECHNICAL STANDPOINT, AND THAT THE OBJECTIONS TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWER BID ARE BASED UPON THE RESULTS OBTAINED FROM SUCH INVESTIGATION, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWER BID IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE WOULD NOT BE IN THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES, AND FOR THE REASONS HEREIN STATED ACCEPTANCE OF THE HIGHER BID AS INDICATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION IS ACCORDINGLY AUTHORIZED. A DETAILED STATEMENT, HOWEVER, SHOULD ACCOMPANY THE VOUCHER AS TO THE REASONS FOR THE ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN THE BID OF THE LOWEST BIDDER AS REQUIRED BY 3 COMP. GEN. 604, SUPRA. ..END :