A-17146, FEBRUARY 9, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 514

A-17146: Feb 9, 1927

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1927: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 22. THAT WAS RECEIVED ON THE DAY. " THAT 15 BIDS WERE RECEIVED PRIOR TO THE TIME SPECIFIED FOR OPENING AND ONE. WAS RECEIVED ON DECEMBER 28. L. SMITH IT IS SHOWN BY AFFIDAVIT AND OTHERWISE THAT HE APPEARED AT THE POST OFFICE AT SEATTLE. THAT SAID PARCEL WAS REGISTERED AND ALSO MARKED "SPECIAL DELIVERY. " THAT THE SAID PARCEL IN DUE COURSE OF MAIL SHOULD HAVE REACHED THE PLACE DESIGNATED FOR THE OPENING OF BIDS BEFORE 10 O CLOCK A.M. DID NOT CARRY REGISTERED MAIL THE SAID PARCEL WAS PLACED ON A TRAIN LEAVING SEATTLE. THE SAID PARCEL WAS IN POSSESSION OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT. THAT SAID PARCEL WAS RECEIVED BY THE POSTMASTER AT ELLENSBURG. NO PROPOSALS RECEIVED AFTER SAID TIME OR AT ANY PLACE OTHER THAN THE PLACE OF OPENING AS STATED IN THE ADVERTISEMENT WILL BE CONSIDERED * * YOU REPORT THAT THE DEPARTMENT'S ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO SUCH CASES PROVIDE: ANY PROPOSAL RECEIVED AFTER THE TIME FIXED FOR OPENING SHOULD BE RETURNED TO THE BIDDER UNOPENED.

A-17146, FEBRUARY 9, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 514

ADVERTISING - BIDS - AWARDS WHERE BID RECEIVED AFTER FIXED TIME FOR OPENING INFORMATION OBTAINED THROUGH A BID RECEIVED AFTER THE HOUR SET FOR THE OPENING OF BIDS THAT THE WORK UPON WHICH PROPOSALS HAD BEEN ASKED COULD BE PERFORMED AT LOWER PRICES, REQUIRES ACTION TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES AND NO AWARD MAY PROPERLY BE MADE ON THE BIDS AS RECEIVED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, FEBRUARY 9, 1927:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 22, 1927, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER SET FORTH, A PROPOSAL, SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS, THAT WAS RECEIVED ON THE DAY, BUT AFTER THE HOUR, SET FOR THE OPENING OF PROPOSALS MAY BE CONSIDERED IN AWARDING THE CONTRACT FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE CONTEMPLATED WORK.

IT APPEARS THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, UNDER DATE OF NOVEMBER 5, 1926, REQUESTED BIDS FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF CERTAIN WORK CONSISTING OF EARTH WORK, CANAL LINING, AND STRUCTURES IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE KITTITAS MAIN CANAL, DIVISION NO. 2, AND TUCKER CREEK SIPHON, YAKIMA FEDERAL IRRIGATION PROJECT, WASHINGTON, IN ACCORDANCE WITH CERTAIN DRAWINGS AND SPECIFICATIONS, THE ADVERTISEMENT STATING THAT THE PROPOSALS WOULD "BE RECEIVED AT THE OFFICE OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, ELLENSBURG, WASH., UNTIL 10 O-CLOCK A.M., DECEMBER 28, 1926," AND THAT SAID PROPOSALS WOULD "AT THAT HOUR BE OPENED; " THAT 15 BIDS WERE RECEIVED PRIOR TO THE TIME SPECIFIED FOR OPENING AND ONE, THAT OF J. L. SMITH, WAS RECEIVED ON DECEMBER 28, 1926, AT 2.35 P.M., OR 4 HOURS AND 35 MINUTES AFTER THE HOUR SET FOR OPENING.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE PROPOSAL SUBMITTED BY J. L. SMITH IT IS SHOWN BY AFFIDAVIT AND OTHERWISE THAT HE APPEARED AT THE POST OFFICE AT SEATTLE, WASH., ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 27, 1926, BEFORE THE HOUR OF 7 P.M., AND DELIVERED TO THE REGISTRY CLERK AT THE SAID POST OFFICE A PARCEL OR PACKAGE CONTAINING HIS PROPOSAL ADDRESSED TO THE UNITED STATES BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, YAKIMA PROJECT, KITTITAS DIVISION, ELLENSBURG, WASH.; THAT SAID PARCEL WAS REGISTERED AND ALSO MARKED "SPECIAL DELIVERY; " THAT THE SAID PARCEL IN DUE COURSE OF MAIL SHOULD HAVE REACHED THE PLACE DESIGNATED FOR THE OPENING OF BIDS BEFORE 10 O CLOCK A.M., DECEMBER 28, 1926; THAT BECAUSE THE TRAIN LEAVING SEATTLE, WASH., AT 11.50 P.M., ON DECEMBER 27, 1926, DID NOT CARRY REGISTERED MAIL THE SAID PARCEL WAS PLACED ON A TRAIN LEAVING SEATTLE, WASH., FOR ELLENSBURG, THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 27, 1926; THAT BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 7 P.M., MONDAY, DECEMBER 27, AND 9.30 A.M., TUESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 1926, THE SAID PARCEL WAS IN POSSESSION OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, SEATTLE, WASH.; THAT SAID PARCEL WAS RECEIVED BY THE POSTMASTER AT ELLENSBURG, WASH., DECEMBER 28, 1926, AT 1.56 P.M., AND DELIVERED BY THE SPECIAL POST-OFFICE MESSENGER AT BUREAU OF RECLAMATION OFFICE, ELLENSBURG, WASH., AT 2.35 P.M., DECEMBER 28, 1926, OR 4 HOURS AND 35 MINUTES AFTER THE HOUR SET FOR OPENING OF BIDS.

PARAGRAPH 2 OF THE GENERAL CONDITIONS UNDER THE "SPECIFICATIONS" PROVIDES:

* * * A BIDDER MAY WITHDRAW HIS PROPOSAL BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF THE TIME DURING WHICH PROPOSAL MAY BE SUBMITTED, WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO HIMSELF, BY SUBMITTING A WRITTEN REQUEST FOR ITS WITHDRAWAL TO THE OFFICER WHO HOLDS IT. NO PROPOSALS RECEIVED AFTER SAID TIME OR AT ANY PLACE OTHER THAN THE PLACE OF OPENING AS STATED IN THE ADVERTISEMENT WILL BE CONSIDERED * *

YOU REPORT THAT THE DEPARTMENT'S ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO SUCH CASES PROVIDE:

ANY PROPOSAL RECEIVED AFTER THE TIME FIXED FOR OPENING SHOULD BE RETURNED TO THE BIDDER UNOPENED. IF, HOWEVER, SUCH PROPOSAL IS THE ONLY ONE RECEIVED IT MAY BE CONSIDERED AS AN INFORMAL PROPOSAL.

THE FACTS SET FORTH SHOW YOUR DEPARTMENT IN POSSESSION OF INFORMATION THAT THE BIDS, EXCEPTING THE ONE IN QUESTION, ARE NOT THE LOWEST PRICES FOR WHICH CERTAIN OF THE WORK MIGHT BE PERFORMED. IT PRESENTS A CONDITION UNDER WHICH THERE APPEARS NO ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY TO DISREGARD SUCH INFORMATION, BUT REQUIRES ACTION, IN THE LIGHT THEREOF, TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATES. THE MATTER RESOLVES ITSELF INTO SIMPLY THAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE SUCH NO AWARD MAY PROPERLY BE MADE ON THE BIDS AS RECEIVED, SO FAR AS THE WORK IN QUESTION IS CONCERNED, THE MATTERS SET FORTH DISCLOSING THAT SUCH WORK IS POSSIBLE OF PERFORMANCE AT LOWER PRICES.