A-25233, APRIL 23, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 555

A-25233: Apr 23, 1929

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AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DECISION A-25233 TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE U.S. THIS IS TO THE EFFECT THAT WHERE IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY AFTER PROPER TRIAL THAT THE CARDS MANUFACTURED IN THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE CAN NOT BE SATISFACTORILY USED IN THE PARTICULAR MACHINES FOR WHICH THE CARDS ARE REQUIRED BY THE AGENCY THE NECESSARY CARDS MAY BE PROCURED ELSEWHERE AFTER DUE COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 3709 R.S. WHEN THIS DECISION REACHED THE DEPARTMENT A CONFERENCE WAS CALLED OF REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR BUREAUS WHICH USE TABULATING MACHINES. IT WAS BROUGHT OUT CLEARLY IN THIS MEETING THAT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE CARDS WERE UNSATISFACTORY AND THAT THEIR DEFECTS WERE NOT SLIGHT OR CASUAL IMPERFECTIONS OF WHICH CORRECTION COULD BE EXPECTED.

A-25233, APRIL 23, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 555

PRINTING AND BINDING - TABULATING CARDS UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1929, 45 STAT. 1400, ALL PRINTING AND BINDING AND BLANK-BOOK WORK, INCLUDING TABULATING CARDS, REQUIRED BY THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MUST BE PROCURED FROM OR THROUGH THE PUBLIC PRINTER, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER SUCH WORK CAN BE DONE AT THE PRINTING OFFICE OR MUST BE OBTAINED BY CONTRACT FROM COMMERCIAL MANUFACTURERS OR CONCERNS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, APRIL 23, 1929:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 13, 1929, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DECISION A-25233 TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE U.S. SHIPPING BOARD IN THE MATTER OF PROCUREMENT OF TABULATING CARDS FROM THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. THIS IS TO THE EFFECT THAT WHERE IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY AFTER PROPER TRIAL THAT THE CARDS MANUFACTURED IN THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE CAN NOT BE SATISFACTORILY USED IN THE PARTICULAR MACHINES FOR WHICH THE CARDS ARE REQUIRED BY THE AGENCY THE NECESSARY CARDS MAY BE PROCURED ELSEWHERE AFTER DUE COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 3709 R.S.

WHEN THIS DECISION REACHED THE DEPARTMENT A CONFERENCE WAS CALLED OF REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR BUREAUS WHICH USE TABULATING MACHINES. IT WAS BROUGHT OUT CLEARLY IN THIS MEETING THAT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE CARDS WERE UNSATISFACTORY AND THAT THEIR DEFECTS WERE NOT SLIGHT OR CASUAL IMPERFECTIONS OF WHICH CORRECTION COULD BE EXPECTED, BUT WERE SUCH AS TO RENDER THEM FUNDAMENTALLY UNSUITED FOR SUCCESSFUL OPERATION. AS A RESULT OF THIS CONFERENCE A DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR ISSUED, COPY INCLOSED.

THE CIRCULAR BORE DATE OF DECEMBER 15, 1928. ON JANUARY 3, 1929, THE PUBLIC PRINTER IN A CIRCULAR LETTER ANNOUNCED THAT FOR THE TIME BEING HE WOULD NOT ACCEPT ORDERS FOR TABULATING CARDS. FOR YOUR CONVENIENT REFERENCE COPY OF THIS IS ALSO INCLOSED. THE SITUATION WAS AGAIN CHANGED, OR AT LEAST THE DEPARTMENT SO THOUGHT, BY A PROVISION IN THE LEGISLATIVE ACT FOR 1930 (PUBLIC, NO. 844, 70TH CONGRESS), AS FOLLOWS:

PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT HEREAFTER SUCH PRINTING, BINDING, AND BLANK BOOK WORK AUTHORIZED BY LAW, AS THE PUBLIC PRINTER IS NOT ABLE OR EQUIPPED TO DO AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, MAY BE PRODUCED ELSEWHERE UNDER CONTRACTS MADE BY HIM WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING.

THE DEPARTMENT CONSTRUED THIS AS A MANDATE TO ABANDON DIRECT PURCHASE OF PUNCH CARDS FROM THE COMMERCIAL PRODUCERS AND TO PLACE ORDERS THEREFOR WITH THE PUBLIC PRINTER. ACCORDINGLY, CIRCULAR INSTRUCTIONS TO THAT EFFECT ISSUED UNDER DATE OF MARCH 18, 1929 (COPY ENCLOSED). IT WAS OUR SUPPOSITION, AS THE CIRCULAR INDICATES, THAT THE PUBLIC PRINTER WOULD CONTRACT FOR PUNCH CARDS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE FOR 1930, AND WOULD IN THE MEANTIME MAKE SUCH PURCHASES AS THE DEPARTMENTS REQUIRED DURING THE REMAINDER OF THE PRESENT FISCAL YEAR.

THIS SUPPOSITION WAS, IN PART AT LEAST, INCORRECT. A RELATIVELY SMALL ORDER FOR TABULATING CARDS FOR ONE OF OUR BUREAUS WAS RECENTLY PLACED WITH THE PUBLIC PRINTER. WE NOW LEARN THAT THEY ARE TO BE MANUFACTURED AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES QUESTION ARISES WHETHER THERE IS ANYTHING IN THE ABOVE CITED PROVISO IN PUBLIC 844 WHICH VACATES OR MODIFIES A-25233. IN OTHER WORDS, WITH OUR HISTORY OF ILL SUCCESS AND DETRIMENT IN THE USE OF THE CARDS PRODUCED AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, IS THE DEPARTMENT OBLIGATED TO ORDER EXCLUSIVELY FROM THE PUBLIC PRINTER WITHOUT STIPULATION THAT THE CARDS SHALL BE PROCURED FROM A SATISFACTORY EXTERNAL SOURCE, OR MAY IT SO STIPULATE AND UPON INDICATION THAT THE STIPULATION IS REJECTED, PROCURE COMMERCIALLY AS PROVIDED IN A- 25233? YOUR DECISION OF THIS QUESTION IS REQUESTED, AND SINCE WE HAVE EARLY NEED FOR PROCUREMENT OF ADDITIONAL STOCKS OF THE CARDS, I HAVE TO REQUEST THE FAVOR OF A PROMPT RESPONSE.

TABULATING CARDS WHEN PRINTED ON ORDER TO MEET THE NEEDS OF PARTICULAR GOVERNMENT SERVICES UNDOUBTEDLY CONSTITUTE PRINTING WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1919, 40 STAT. 1270, AND AS THE CONGRESS HAS NOW AUTHORIZED THE PUBLIC PRINTER TO PROCURE ELSEWHERE, UNDER CONTRACT MADE BY HIM, SUCH PRINTING, BINDING, AND BLANK-BOOK WORK AS HE IS NOT ABLE OR EQUIPPED TO DO AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO ORDER FROM THE PUBLIC PRINTER ALL THE TABULATING CARDS REQUIRED FOR THE NEEDS OF YOUR DEPARTMENT. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF FURNISHING SATISFACTORY CARDS, WHETHER PRINTED IN THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE OR OBTAINED ELSEWHERE UNDER CONTRACTS BY THE PUBLIC PRINTER, IS THAT OF THE PUBLIC PRINTER. ANY DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE TO THE CONTRARY ARE NO LONGER APPLICABLE.