A-12097, JANUARY 7, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 463

A-12097: Jan 7, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN LOWEST BID - SAMPLES OBJECTION IS NOT FOUND NECESSARY TO THE PURCHASE OF TWO OF CERTAIN SAMPLE AIRPLANES SUBMITTED WITH BIDS. WHERE IT APPEARS THAT THE PRIMARY OBJECT AND PURPOSE OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IS BY FURTHER TESTS UNDER ACTUAL USE CONDITIONS. IS TO BE FROM THE LOWEST BIDDER AS REQUIRED BY LAW. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 24. SHORTLY AFTER THE ADVERTISEMENT WAS ISSUED IT WAS OBSERVED THAT THE ORIGINAL ADVERTISEMENT DID NOT CALL FOR A PRICE ON THE SAMPLE AIRPLANES TO BE SUBMITTED. IS HEREWITH ATTACHED. SAMPLE AIRPLANES WERE SUBMITTED BY SIX COMPANIES. ONE PLANE WAS WITHDRAWN BEFORE PRELIMINARY TESTS WERE MADE. TWO PLANES WERE WITHDRAWN DURING THE TESTS ON ACCOUNT OF FAILING TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS.

A-12097, JANUARY 7, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 463

ADVERTISING, ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN LOWEST BID - SAMPLES OBJECTION IS NOT FOUND NECESSARY TO THE PURCHASE OF TWO OF CERTAIN SAMPLE AIRPLANES SUBMITTED WITH BIDS, FOUND TO MEET THE PRELIMINARY TESTS, WHERE IT APPEARS THAT THE PRIMARY OBJECT AND PURPOSE OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IS BY FURTHER TESTS UNDER ACTUAL USE CONDITIONS, TO PRACTICALLY ASCERTAIN THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE MATTER OF PLANES BEST ADAPTED FOR USE IN THE AIR MAIL SERVICE. PURCHASE OF ANY OTHER THAN SUCH SAMPLE PLANES, HOWEVER, IS TO BE FROM THE LOWEST BIDDER AS REQUIRED BY LAW.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JANUARY 7, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 24, 1925, AS FOLLOWS:

ON APRIL 16, 1925, THE PURCHASING AGENT FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, AT THE REQUEST OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL AND WITH MY APPROVAL, SENT OUT AN ADVERTISEMENT INVITING SEALED PROPOSALS SUBJECT TO THE USUAL CONDITIONS FOR FURNISHING AND DELIVERING AIRPLANES FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT.

THE ADVERTISEMENT PROVIDED FOR THE RECEIVING OF PROPOSALS UNTIL TEN O- CLOCK THE MORNING OF JULY 15, 1925. SHORTLY AFTER THE ADVERTISEMENT WAS ISSUED IT WAS OBSERVED THAT THE ORIGINAL ADVERTISEMENT DID NOT CALL FOR A PRICE ON THE SAMPLE AIRPLANES TO BE SUBMITTED. ON MAY 5 THE PURCHASING AGENT FORWARDED A MEMORANDUM TO PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS CALLING FOR A PRICE ON THE SAMPLE PLANES AS WELL AS ON PLANES IN LOTS OF THREE, TEN, TWENTY-FIVE, AND FIFTY, AS CALLED FOR ON PAGE THREE OF THE PROPOSAL BLANK. A COPY OF THE ADVERTISEMENT, TOGETHER WITH SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM REFERRED TO, IS HEREWITH ATTACHED.

SAMPLE AIRPLANES WERE SUBMITTED BY SIX COMPANIES. ONE PLANE WAS WITHDRAWN BEFORE PRELIMINARY TESTS WERE MADE; TWO PLANES WERE WITHDRAWN DURING THE TESTS ON ACCOUNT OF FAILING TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS; A FOURTH PLANE COMPLETED THE TESTS BUT DID NOT FULLY MEET THE SPECIFICATIONS AND WAS THUS ELIMINATED. TWO OF THE PLANES MET THE PRELIMINARY TESTS AS REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS AND PRICES ON THESE PLANES WERE QUOTED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE (1) SAMPLE PLANE ------------------------------------------- $23,000

IN LOTS OF THREE ---------------------------------------- 16,500

IN LOTS OF TEN ------------------------------------------ 14,000

IN LOTS OF TWENTY-FIVE ---------------------------------- 13,000

IN LOTS OF FIFTY ---------------------------------------- 12,500 (2) SAMPLE PLANE -------------------------------------------- 35,000

IN LOTS OF THREE ---------------------------------------- 23,500

IN LOTS OF TEN ------------------------------------------ 19,720

IN LOTS OF TWENTY-FIVE ---------------------------------- 14,255

IN LOTS OF FIFTY ---------------------------------------- 11,000

AS BOTH OF THE SAMPLE PLANES SUBMITTED BY THESE BIDDERS APPARENTLY MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, AS DEMONSTRATED IN PRELIMINARY TESTS PROVIDED FOR IN THE SPECIFICATIONS, IT IS MY DESIRE TO PURCHASE BOTH OF THESE PLANES WITH THE EXPRESS PURPOSE IN MIND OF THOROUGHLY TESTING THEM OUT BEFORE PLACING A QUANTITY ORDER FOR EITHER ONE. I WOULD LIKE YOUR OPINION, IN ADVANCE OF AN EXPENDITURE TO BE MADE, ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:

CAN THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT PURCHASE THE SAMPLE PLANES FROM TWO BIDDERS FOR THE PURPOSE OF A THOROUGH TEST BEFORE A QUANTITY ORDER IS PLACED?

WHILE THE MATTER IS NOT FREE FROM SERIOUS DOUBT, IT APPEARS FROM THE FACTS SUBMITTED THAT THE PRIMARY OBJECT AND PURPOSE OF THE PROPOSED PURCHASE OF THE SAMPLE PLANES IS TO ENABLE YOUR DEPARTMENT TO PRACTICALLY ASCERTAIN THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE MATTER OF PLANES FOR THE USE OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, WHICH APPEAR NOT NOW DEFINITELY KNOWN, BY MAKING FURTHER TESTS UNDER ACTUAL USE CONDITIONS OF THE TWO PLANES THAT NOW APPEAR, FROM SUCH TESTS AS IT HAS BEEN PRACTICABLE TO APPLY, POSSIBLE OF USE IN SUCH CONNECTION; THERE ALSO NOW APPEARING NO PRACTICAL WAY OF OBTAINING THE REQUIRED INFORMATION AS TO THE NEEDS OF YOUR DEPARTMENT IN THE MATTER AND THE POSSIBLE USES OF PLANES OF THE TYPE HERE INVOLVED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, EXCEPT BY ACTUAL USE OVER A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME, AND THAT SUCH USE WOULD BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES, THE UNDERSTOOD PURPOSE BEING TO PUT THESE PLANES, IF PURCHASED, INTO THE WORK AUTHORIZED BY THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED, COMPETITION HAVING BEEN HAD AS DISCLOSED, I FEEL JUSTIFIED IN THIS INSTANCE IN WITHHOLDING OBJECTION TO THE PURCHASE OF THE TWO SAMPLE PLANES AT THE PRICES PROPOSED. THIS IS NOT, HOWEVER, TO BE CONSTRUED AS AUTHORITY FOR PURCHASES UNDER THE SUBMITTED BIDS AT OTHER THAN THE LOWEST PRICE, AS REQUIRED BY LAW.