A-18665, JUNE 16, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 824

A-18665: Jun 16, 1927

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GENERAL SUPPLY SCHEDULE - OPEN-MARKET PURCHASES - DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE WHERE ARTICLES SCHEDULED BY THE GENERAL SUPPLY COMMITTEE WERE PURCHASED IN THE OPEN MARKET BY A FIELD SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND THERE APPEARS NO SHOWING SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH THAT AN EXIGENCY EXISTED AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE WHICH COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MET BY PURCHASE FROM THE REGULAR CONTRACTORS. THE TRANSACTION WAS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 17. WAS ALLOWED IN THE SUM OF $23.04. THE AMOUNT OF $15.36 BEING DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE PURCHASE COULD HAVE BEEN MADE THROUGH THE GENERAL SUPPLY COMMITTEE FOR $23.04. IN ITS REQUEST FOR REVIEW THE CLAIMANT STATES: THE AMOUNT OF OUR INVOICE IS $38.40 AND YOU HAVE DEDUCTED $15.36 WHICH WE CAN NOT ALLOW.

A-18665, JUNE 16, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 824

GENERAL SUPPLY SCHEDULE - OPEN-MARKET PURCHASES - DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE WHERE ARTICLES SCHEDULED BY THE GENERAL SUPPLY COMMITTEE WERE PURCHASED IN THE OPEN MARKET BY A FIELD SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND THERE APPEARS NO SHOWING SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH THAT AN EXIGENCY EXISTED AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE WHICH COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MET BY PURCHASE FROM THE REGULAR CONTRACTORS, THE TRANSACTION WAS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 17, 1910, 36 STAT. 531, WHICH PROVIDES THE PROCEDURE FOR MAKING SUCH PURCHASES, AND PAYMENT MAY NOT BE MADE THEREFOR IN EXCESS OF THE REGULAR CONTRACT LIST PRICE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JUNE 16, 1927:

DOUBLEDAY-HILL ELECTRIC CO. REQUESTED MAY 16, 1927, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 0154279, DATED MAY 11, 1927, WHEREIN ITS CLAIM IN THE SUM OF $38.40 FOR 120, 50-WATTS S-19, 240-VOLT, CLEAR, ELECTRIC LAMPS, AT 32 CENTS EACH, FURNISHED THE ANIMAL HUSBANDRY EXPERIMENT FARM, BELTSVILLE, MD., JULY 15, 1925 (PER AUTHORITY NO. 444, DATED JULY 1, 1925), WAS ALLOWED IN THE SUM OF $23.04, THE AMOUNT OF $15.36 BEING DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE PURCHASE COULD HAVE BEEN MADE THROUGH THE GENERAL SUPPLY COMMITTEE FOR $23.04.

IN ITS REQUEST FOR REVIEW THE CLAIMANT STATES:

THE AMOUNT OF OUR INVOICE IS $38.40 AND YOU HAVE DEDUCTED $15.36 WHICH WE CAN NOT ALLOW. THE EXPLANATION GIVEN OF YOUR DISALLOWANCE OF THIS AMOUNT IS UNSATISFACTORY BECAUSE WE HAVE NO CONTRACT WITH THE GENERAL SUPPLY COMMITTEE COVERING LAMPS, AND WE SEE NO REASON WHY WE CAN BE LEGALLY HELD TO TERMS OF ANY CONTRACT WHICH WE HAVE NOT SIGNED. FURTHERMORE THE AMOUNT ALLOWED IS LESS THAN OUR ACTUAL COST ON THE MERCHANDISE, AND WE BELIEVE IT IS THE INTENTION OF OUR GOVERNMENT TO ALLOW US A LEGITIMATE PROFIT FOR OUR SERVICES.

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, THROUGH THE GENERAL SUPPLY COMMITTEE, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 17, 1910, 36 STAT. 531, ENTERED INTO A FORMAL CONTRACT (SEE SCHEDULE UNDER CLASS 15, ITEM 15140) WITH THE GENERAL ELECTRIC CO., ALSO WITH THE WESTINGHOUSE LAMP CO., TO SUPPLY 50-WATT, P-19 ELECTRIC BULBS, 120 STANDARD PACKAGE QUANTITY, 240 VOLTS, CLEAR, AT $0.192 EACH,"FOR USE BY THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND OTHER ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND ALL FIELD SERVICES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES," WITH A FURTHER PROVISION THAT ORDERS ORIGINATING FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., AND VICINITY MAY BE SENT TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES, AS FOLLOWS: GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. (EDISON BRAND)AT 1405 G STREET ., AND AS TO THE WESTINGHOUSE LAMP CO. (WESTINGHOUSE BRAND) AT 404 WILKINS BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C. IN THIS CONNECTION, IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE CLAIMANT FURNISHED THE SUPPLIES IN QUESTION FROM ITS STORE AT 715 TWELFTH STREET NW., WASHINGTON, D.C.

UNDER DATE OF APRIL 28, 1927, THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SUPPLIES ADVISED THIS OFFICE AS FOLLOWS:

THE LAMPS INQUIRED ABOUT IN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 15, 1927, MARKED "MISC- 0108883-WIC" ARE NOT LISTED IN THE GENERAL SCHEDULE OF SUPPLIES BUT COULD HAVE BEEN PURCHASED UNDER THE CLAUSE IN THE CONTRACT WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"IT IS FURTHER UNDERSTOOD THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE ENTITLED TO PURCHASE SUCH OTHER LAMPS OF ANY CLASS INCLUDING CARBON LAMPS, THAT ARE MANUFACTURED OR MAY BE PERFECTED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 19--- , AT NET PRICES REPRESENTING THE SAME RATE OF DISCOUNT OR REDUCTION AS MAY BE IN EFFECT ON LAMPS ALREADY UNDER CONTRACT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE CONTRACTOR ON THE DATE OF SHIPMENT OF SUCH LAMPS.'

THE LIST PRICE OF THESE LAMPS AT THE TIME OF THE PURCHASE WAS $0.32 AND AT THE DISCOUNT IN EFFECT UNDER THE CONTRACT OF 40 PERCENT FOR STANDARD PACKAGE QUANTITIES, 120 LAMPS, WOULD HAVE MADE THE COST $0.192.

THE PRICE PAID THE DOUBLEDAY-HILL CO. WAS $15.36 IN EXCESS OF WHAT THE BULBS WOULD HAVE COST IF PURCHASED FROM THE REGULAR CONTRACTORS LOCATED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WHERE THE PURCHASE WAS MADE.

THE REASON ASSIGNED FOR PURCHASING THESE ELECTRIC BULBS FROM THE CLAIMANT COMPANY, AS SET FORTH IN THE MEMORANDUM OF THE ASSOCIATE ANIMAL HUSBANDMAN, DATED SEPTEMBER 18, 1926, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE OR JUSTIFY THE ACTION TAKEN.

THE RECORD AS PRESENTED INDICATES THAT NO EXIGENCY EXISTED REQUIRING A PURCHASE OTHER THAN UNDER THE REGULAR CONTRACTS IN FORCE AT THE TIME, THE CONTRACTORS THEREUNDER BEING AVAILABLE, AND SO FAR AS THE RECORD SHOWS, IN POSITION TO EFFECT DELIVERY AS EXPEDITIOUSLY AS ANY OTHER DEALER.

IT IS THE DUTY OF EVERY PURCHASING OFFICER OF THE GOVERNMENT TO KNOW OR ASCERTAIN WHAT CLASSES OF ARTICLES, WHICH HE MAY BE CALLED UPON TO PURCHASE, ARE COVERED BY GENERAL SUPPLY CONTRACTS, AND NO PERMISSION OR DIRECTION FROM HIS ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERIOR CAN RELIEVE HIM OF HIS PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE MATTER. SEE DECISION OF JANUARY 21, 1926, A-12179, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD.

* * * THE ACT PRESCRIBING THE PROCEDURE FOR MAKING SUCH PURCHASES IS MANDATORY AND PURCHASE MADE IN CONTRAVENTION THEREOF, EVEN THOUGH MADE IN GOOD FAITH, CAN IMPOSE NO LEGAL OBLIGATION ON THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE UNNECESSARY EXPENDITURE.