A-16814, JANUARY 7, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 459

A-16814: Jan 7, 1927

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THE MERE FACT THAT A TYPEWRITER IS ELECTRICALLY OPERATED DOES NOT REMOVE IT FROM THE PRICE RESTRICTION UPON STANDARD TYPEWRITING MACHINES IF A STANDARD MACHINE WILL SUPPLY THE NEED. THE DESIRE FOR A BETTER STENCIL IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR PURCHASING OTHER THAN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GENERAL SUPPLY SCHEDULE. 1927: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 22. CORRESPONDENCE THAT HAVE TO BE DUPLICATED FOR THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSIONS AND THEIR ADVISORS FOR CONSIDERATION PRIOR TO REGULAR MEETINGS. THERE IS DANGER OF ERRORS AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS ON ACCOUNT OF THE ILLEGIBILITY AND IRREGULARITY OF THE MIMEOGRAPH COPY. THE DIFFICULTY IS NOT WITH THE MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE. THE DIFFICULTY IS NOT WITH THE MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE.

A-16814, JANUARY 7, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 459

PURCHASES - ELECTRIC TYPEWRITERS - OFFICE OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND PUBLIC PARKS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL THE WOODSTOCK "ELECTRITE," OR SIMILAR TYPE OF ELECTRICALLY OPERATED TYPEWRITER, BEING A MACHINE USED TO PERFORM WORK OF A KIND WHICH MAY BE PERFORMED BY AN ORDINARY STANDARD TYPEWRITING MACHINE, MAY NOT BE PURCHASED FROM CONTRACTORS OTHER THAN THOSE LISTED ON THE GENERAL SUPPLY SCHEDULE, NOR AT PRICES IN EXCESS OF THOSE SO LISTED FOR STANDARD MACHINES. THE MERE FACT THAT A TYPEWRITER IS ELECTRICALLY OPERATED DOES NOT REMOVE IT FROM THE PRICE RESTRICTION UPON STANDARD TYPEWRITING MACHINES IF A STANDARD MACHINE WILL SUPPLY THE NEED. THE DESIRE FOR A BETTER STENCIL IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR PURCHASING OTHER THAN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GENERAL SUPPLY SCHEDULE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND PUBLIC PARKS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL, JANUARY 7, 1927:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 22, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

OWING TO SPECIAL CONDITIONS HEREINAFTER EXPLAINED, THIS OFFICE HAS SPECIAL URGENT NEED FOR AN ELECTRIC-DRIVEN TYPEWRITER (WOODSTOCK "ELECTRITE," OR SIMILAR TYPE) FOR CUTTING MIMEOGRAPH STENCILS, AS THIS OFFICE HANDLES NOT ONLY ITS OWN WORK OF THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND PUBLIC PARKS, BUT ALSO THAT OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION, THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS COMMISSION, THE ARLINGTON MEMORIAL BRIDGE COMMISSION, AND THE ROCK CREEK AND POTOMAC PARKWAY COMMISSION, THE MIMEOGRAPHING TO BE DONE VERY MUCH EXCEEDS IN VOLUME AND URGENCY WHAT MIGHT OTHERWISE BE EXPECTED. A GREAT DEAL OF THIS WORK CONSISTS OF REPORTS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND CORRESPONDENCE THAT HAVE TO BE DUPLICATED FOR THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSIONS AND THEIR ADVISORS FOR CONSIDERATION PRIOR TO REGULAR MEETINGS. THIS CAN NOT BE DONE WITH THE AVAILABLE CLERICAL PERSONNEL AND STANDARD TYPEWRITING MACHINES; THERE IS DANGER OF ERRORS AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS ON ACCOUNT OF THE ILLEGIBILITY AND IRREGULARITY OF THE MIMEOGRAPH COPY. THE DIFFICULTY IS NOT WITH THE MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE, THE INK, OR THE STENCIL PAPER, BUT SOLELY WITH THE UNAVOIDABLY UNEVEN TOUCH OF THE TYPIST AND THE FAULTY CUTTING OF THE STENCIL, ESPECIALLY ON TASKS OF LONG DURATION. THE MIMEOGRAPH COPY. THE DIFFICULTY IS NOT WITH THE MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE, THE INK, OR THE STENCIL PAPER, BUT SOLELY WITH THE UNAVOIDABLY UNEVEN TOUCH OF THE TYPIST AND THE FAULTY CUTTING OF THE STENCIL, ESPECIALLY ON TASKS OF LONG DURATION.

IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THE POLICY OF THE PRESIDENT WITH REGARD TO ECONOMY OF PERSONNEL, THIS OFFICE HAS REDUCED ITS STENOGRAPHIC FORCE TO A MINIMUM. THE HIRING OF A SPECIALLY TRAINED TYPIST FOR MIMEOGRAPH STENCIL CUTTING WOULD BE INCONSISTENT WITH THIS POLICY AS WELL AS MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN THE PURCHASE OF AN ELECTRIC-DRIVEN TYPEWRITER, AND AT BEST WOULD BE UNSATISFACTORY, SINCE ONLY MECHANICAL OPERATION CAN ASSURE THE ABSOLUTELY UNIFORM TOUCH ESSENTIAL TO GOOD MIMEOGRAPHING.

THIS ELECTRIC-DRIVEN TYPEWRITER IS NOT INTENDED TO SUPPLEMENT THE EXISTING FACILITIES FOR ORDINARY TYPEWRITING, BUT IS DESIRED TO AVOID THE NECESSITY OF PURCHASING A MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE DUPLICATING MACHINE OF A GREATER CAPACITY THAN THE NEEDS OF THIS OFFICE WOULD JUSTIFY.

FOR THE ABOVE REASONS IT IS FELT THAT A SPECIAL NEED EXISTS IN THIS OFFICE FOR THE PURCHASE OF AN ELECTRIC-DRIVEN TYPEWRITER FOR CUTTING MIMEOGRAPH STENCILS. SINCE NO SUCH TYPEWRITER IS CARRIED ON THE GENERAL SCHEDULE OF SUPPLIES, IT IS DESIRED TO MAKE AN OPEN-MARKET PURCHASE IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 3709 REVISED STATUTES. IN ORDER TO AVOID THE POSSIBILITY OF A MISUNDERSTANDING AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROCEDURE SUGGESTED BY YOU FOR SUCH CASES, YOUR CONFIRMATION OF THE PROPRIETY OF THE PROPOSED PURCHASE IS REQUESTED IN ADVANCE.

THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 139, PROVIDES:

NO PART OF ANY MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT SHALL BE USED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 FOR THE PURCHASE OF ANY STANDARD TYPEWRITING MACHINES, EXCEPT BOOKKEEPING AND BILLING MACHINES, AT A PRICE IN EXCESS OF THE FOLLOWING FOR MODELS WITH CARRIAGES WHICH WILL ACCOMMODATE PAPER OF THE FOLLOWING WIDTHS, TO WIT: TEN INCHES (CORRESPONDENCE MODELS), $70; TWELVE INCHES, $75; FOURTEEN INCHES, $77.50; SIXTEEN INCHES, $82.50; EIGHTEEN INCHES, $87.50; TWENTY INCHES, 94; TWENTY-TWO INCHES, $95; TWENTY -FOUR INCHES, $97.50; TWENTY SIX INCHES, $103.50; TWENTY-EIGHT INCHES, $104; THIRTY INCHES, $105; THIRTY-TWO INCHES, $107.50.

ALL PURCHASES OF TYPEWRITING MACHINES DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 BY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS FOR USE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR IN THE FIELD, EXCEPT AS HEREINAFTER PROVIDED, SHALL BE MADE FROM THE SURPLUS MACHINES IN THE STOCK OF THE GENERAL SUPPLY COMMITTEE. * * * IF THE GENERAL SUPPLY SERVICE OF THE COMMITTEE IS UNABLE TO FURNISH SERVICEABLE MACHINES TO ANY SUCH SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT, IT SHALL FURNISH UNSERVICEABLE MACHINES, IF AVAILABLE, AT CURRENT EXCHANGE PRICES, AND SUCH MACHINES SHALL THEN BE APPLIED BY THE SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT RECEIVING THEM AS PART PAYMENT FOR NEW MACHINES FROM COMMERCIAL SOURCES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRICES FIXED IN THE PRECEDING PARAGRAPH.

THE PURCHASE OF THE TYPEWRITING MACHINE IS DESIRED FOR THE PURPOSE OF CUTTING STENCILS FOR MIMEOGRAPHING, A SERVICE FOR WHICH ANY OF THE STANDARD MAKES OF TYPEWRITING MACHINES LISTED UPON THE GENERAL SUPPLY SCHEDULE MAY BE AND ARE GENERALLY USED. IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD BY THIS OFFICE THAT THE DESIRE FOR A BETTER OR DIFFERENT QUALITY, OR THE OPINION OF THE PURCHASING OFFICER AS TO THE RELATIVE MERITS OF ARTICLES, IS NO JUSTIFICATION OF PURCHASING OTHERWISE THAN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GENERAL SUPPLY SCHEDULE. 2 COMP. GEN. 441; 5 ID. 755. AS THE NEEDS OF YOUR OFFICE CAN BE SUPPLIED BY A STANDARD TYPEWRITER SUCH AS ARE LISTED UPON THE GENERAL SUPPLY SCHEDULE, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PURCHASE OF AN ELECTRICALLY OPERATED MACHINE NOT SO LISTED.

FURTHERMORE, THE PRICE OF ELECTRICALLY OPERATED MACHINES IS DOUBTLESS IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM PRICES FOR STANDARD MACHINES AS FIXED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1926, SUPRA. THE FACT THAT A TYPEWRITER IS ELECTRICALLY DRIVEN DOES NOT REMOVE IT FROM THE PRICE RESTRICTION UPON STANDARD TYPEWRITING MACHINES, IF A STANDARD MACHINE MAY SUPPLY THE NEED. 4 COMP. GEN. 1045; 5 ID. 900; A-12212, DECEMBER 29, 1925.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION SPECIFICALLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE PURCHASE OF AN ELECTRICALLY OPERATED TYPEWRITING MACHINE IN THE OPEN MARKET AS PROPOSED IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER EXISTING LAW.