A-18775, JUNE 22, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 838

A-18775: Jun 22, 1927

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700 POUNDS IS IMPROPER AND UNAUTHORIZED. 1927: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 4. THE REQUIREMENTS WERE SET FORTH IN THE REQUEST FOR BIDS AS FOLLOWS: A CAR DESIRED THAT IS STURDY IN CONSTRUCTION AND RELIABLE PERFORMANCE. MUST HAVE AMPLE POWER TO TRAVEL THROUGH SAND OR MUD AND OVER STEEP GRADES. TO MEET THESE REQUIREMENTS THE CAR MUST HAVE AMPLE WEIGHT AND EXCEPTIONAL MECHANICAL STRENGTH. THE ENGINE MUST HAVE SUFFICIENT POWER FOR ALL EMERGENCIES. * * * * * * DO NOT QUOTE ON EXTRA TIRE AND TUBE AS THEY WILL BE FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT. A CAR OF THE MAKE BID ON WAS WEIGHED ON GOVERNMENT SCALES AND FOUND TO WEIGH 2. IT IS NOT APPARENT FROM ANYTHING THAT IS SHOWN IN THE PRESENT SUBMISSION THAT AN AUTOMOBILE WEIGHING LESS THAN 2.

A-18775, JUNE 22, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 838

ADVERTISING - BIDS - SPECIFICATIONS IN THE PURCHASE OF AN AUTOMOBILE FOR USE IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE BY ADVERTISING, A STIPULATION IN THE SPECIFICATIONS THAT IT SHALL WEIGH NOT LESS THAN 2,700 POUNDS IS IMPROPER AND UNAUTHORIZED, UNLESS IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT AN AUTOMOBILE WEIGHING LESS THAN 2,700 POUNDS COULD NOT MEET THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE SERVICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JUNE 22, 1927:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 4, 1927, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER IT WOULD BE PROPER TO REJECT THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR AUTOMOBILES UPON THE GROUND THAT THE CAR OFFERED AT SAID BID DOES NOT CONFORM TO THE SPECIFICATIONS AS TO WEIGHT.

ADVERTISEMENT 10285-A-1, DATED APRIL 22, 1927, CALLED FOR BIDS TO FURNISH A FOUR-DOOR, FIVE PASSENGER CLOSED AUTOMOBILE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOLLOWING SPECIFICATIONS:

CAR MUST WEIGH, FULLY EQUIPPED, NOT LESS THAN 2,700 LBS., AND MUST BE FITTED WITH LEATHER UPHOLSTERING. EQUIPMENT MUST INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: TOOL KIT, PUMP, JACK, GREASE GUN, EXTRA RIM, SPEEDOMETER, OIL GAUGE, AMMETER, AUTOMOBILE WINDSHIELD WIPER, REAR VIEW MIRROR, ELECTRIC HORN, FRONT AND REAR BUMPERS, MOTOMETER, AND OIL CAN.

THE REQUIREMENTS WERE SET FORTH IN THE REQUEST FOR BIDS AS FOLLOWS:

A CAR DESIRED THAT IS STURDY IN CONSTRUCTION AND RELIABLE PERFORMANCE. IT MUST BE CAPABLE OF GIVING SATISFACTORY SERVICE UNDER EXTREMELY UNFAVORABLE ROAD AND WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND MUST HAVE AMPLE POWER TO TRAVEL THROUGH SAND OR MUD AND OVER STEEP GRADES, WITHOUT INJURY FROM OVERHEATING OR OTHER CAUSES. TO MEET THESE REQUIREMENTS THE CAR MUST HAVE AMPLE WEIGHT AND EXCEPTIONAL MECHANICAL STRENGTH, AND THE ENGINE MUST HAVE SUFFICIENT POWER FOR ALL EMERGENCIES. * * *

* * * DO NOT QUOTE ON EXTRA TIRE AND TUBE AS THEY WILL BE FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

THE LOWEST BIDDER STATED THE CAR OFFERED WEIGHED 2,710 POUNDS. DOUBT HAVING ARISEN AS TO THE ACCURACY OF THE WEIGHT STATED, A CAR OF THE MAKE BID ON WAS WEIGHED ON GOVERNMENT SCALES AND FOUND TO WEIGH 2,690 POUNDS WITH A SPARE TIRE, TIRE CHAINS, 10 GALLONS OF GASOLINE, AND THE RADIATOR FILLED WITH WATER.

IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD THAT SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD BE DRAWN WITH SUCH PARTICULARITY ONLY AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO MEET THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE SERVICE. IT IS NOT APPARENT FROM ANYTHING THAT IS SHOWN IN THE PRESENT SUBMISSION THAT AN AUTOMOBILE WEIGHING LESS THAN 2,700 POUNDS COULD NOT MEET THE GOVERNMENT'S NEEDS IN THIS INSTANCE. IT WOULD SEEM UNREASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT THE PERFORMANCE QUALITIES OF AN AUTOMOBILE CAN BE DETERMINED BY WEIGHT ALONE, OR THAT A CAR WEIGHING ONLY2,600 POUNDS, 2,500 POUNDS, OR EVEN LESS, COULD NOT BE "STURDY IN CONSTRUCTION AND RELIABLE IN PERFORMANCE" AND COULD NOT PERFORM SATISFACTORILY "UNDER EXTREMELY UNFAVORABLE ROAD AND WEATHER CONDITIONS" AND "THROUGH SAND OR MUD AND OVER STEEP GRADES.'

IN THE ABSENCE OF A SATISFACTORY SHOWING AS TO THE EVIDENCE OR FACTS ON WHICH WAS BASED THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT NO AUTOMOBILE WEIGHING LESS THAN 2,700 POUNDS COULD MEET THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE SERVICE IN THIS INSTANCE IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE STIPULATION IN THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR AN AUTOMOBILE OF NOT LESS THAN 2,700 POUNDS WAS IMPROPER AND UNAUTHORIZED, AND THAT THERE SHOULD BE READVERTISING UNDER SPECIFICATIONS NOT UNNECESSARILY RESTRICTED.