A-4240, SEPTEMBER 3, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 254

A-4240: Sep 3, 1924

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PURCHASES - EVIDENCE OF LOWEST BID VOUCHERS INVOLVING SINGLE PURCHASES TO BE CONSUMMATED BY SINGLE PAYMENTS MUST BEAR SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE AS TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST AND MOST SATISFACTORY BID AND A DISBURSING OFFICER WILL NOT BE PROTECTED IF HE MAKES PAYMENTS OF SUCH ITEMS ON VOUCHERS WHICH DO NOT SHOW SUCH COMPLIANCE. IT IS PERMISSIBLE AND SATISFACTORY THAT THE INFORMATION WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST AND MOST SATISFACTORY BID ACCOMPANY THE CONTRACT AND EACH VOUCHER PAID TO REFER TO SUCH CONTRACT. 1924: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION OF THIS OFFICE THE MATTER OF THE PROCEDURE WITH RESPECT TO COMPETITIVE PURCHASES. THAT IS. AS TO THE SHOWING REQUIRED TO BE MADE WITH RESPECT TO EACH PAYMENT WHEN THERE IS ONLY ONE PAYMENT.

A-4240, SEPTEMBER 3, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 254

PURCHASES - EVIDENCE OF LOWEST BID VOUCHERS INVOLVING SINGLE PURCHASES TO BE CONSUMMATED BY SINGLE PAYMENTS MUST BEAR SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE AS TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST AND MOST SATISFACTORY BID AND A DISBURSING OFFICER WILL NOT BE PROTECTED IF HE MAKES PAYMENTS OF SUCH ITEMS ON VOUCHERS WHICH DO NOT SHOW SUCH COMPLIANCE. WITH REFERENCE TO CONTRACTS, GENERALLY REFERRED TO AS CONTINUOUS SERVICE CONTRACTS, WHICH CONTEMPLATE A SERIES OF PURCHASES BY THE SAME OR DIFFERENT PURCHASING OFFICERS AND PAYMENTS BY THE SAME OR DIFFERENT DISBURSING OFFICERS, IT IS PERMISSIBLE AND SATISFACTORY THAT THE INFORMATION WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST AND MOST SATISFACTORY BID ACCOMPANY THE CONTRACT AND EACH VOUCHER PAID TO REFER TO SUCH CONTRACT.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, SEPTEMBER 3, 1924:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION OF THIS OFFICE THE MATTER OF THE PROCEDURE WITH RESPECT TO COMPETITIVE PURCHASES; THAT IS, AS TO THE SHOWING REQUIRED TO BE MADE WITH RESPECT TO EACH PAYMENT WHEN THERE IS ONLY ONE PAYMENT, WHICH CONSUMMATES THE TRANSACTION, OR WHEN THERE IS A SERIES OF PAYMENTS, DEPENDING ON THE CHARACTER OF CONTRACT INVOLVED.

IN DECISION OF MARCH 8, 1924, 3 COMP. GEN. 605, IT WAS SAID:

THE ACCEPTANCE BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID WOULD ORDINARILY NOT BE QUESTIONED IF THE REASONS ASSIGNED FOR THAT ACTION APPEARED SATISFACTORY, BUT THE ACTION IN THAT RESPECT BY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS IS NOT CONCLUSIVE ON THE ACCOUNTING OFFICE. IT APPEARS, THEREFORE, THAT A SATISFACTORY AUDIT OF EXPENDITURES, WHETHER PURSUANT TO FORMAL OR INFORMAL CONTRACTS, REQUIRES AT LEAST AN AFFIRMATIVE SHOWING THAT THE LOWEST BID WAS ACCEPTED, OR, IF OTHERWISE, A DETAILED STATEMENT OF THE REASONS FOR ACCEPTING OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID.

THE INFORMATION THUS CONSIDERED NECESSARY MAY BE PROVIDED EITHER BY FURNISHING THE ACCEPTED PROPOSAL AND ALL REJECTED PROPOSALS OR COPIES THEREOF, OR BY FURNISHING THE ACCEPTED PROPOSAL AND AN ABSTRACT OF REJECTED PROPOSALS, OR BY A CERTIFICATE ON THE VOUCHER BY ONE HAVING KNOWLEDGE OF THE FACTS THAT THE ACCEPTED BID, ATTACHED OR OTHERWISE DEPOSITED, WAS THE LOWEST BID, IF THAT BE A FACT, OR IF THE FACT BE OTHERWISE, A DETAILED STATEMENT AS TO THE REASONS FOR ACCEPTING OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID. SUCH REQUIREMENT APPEARS TO BE REASONABLE AND IS DEEMED NECESSARY TO A PROPER AUDIT OF THE EXPENDITURES; THEREFORE, THE ITEMS HERE IN QUESTION WILL BE CONTINUED IN SUSPENSION FOR A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME AWAITING RECEIPT OF THE NECESSARY INFORMATION.

IN DECISION OF JULY 31, 1924, IT WAS SAID:

IF ALL THE BIDS, OR COPIES THEREOF, ACCOMPANY THE VOUCHER, OR IF THE VOUCHER IS ACCOMPANIED BY AN ABSTRACT OF BIDS, THERE MUST BE A SHOWING OF THE REASONS THEREFOR IF OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID WAS ACCEPTED. IF ALL THE BIDS, OR COPIES THEREOF, DO NOT ACCOMPANY THE VOUCHER, AND IF THE VOUCHER IS NOT ACCOMPANIED BY AN ABSTRACT OF BIDS, THERE MUST BE AN AFFIRMATIVE SHOWING--- A CERTIFICATE BY THE OFFICER AUTHORIZING THE MAKING OF PURCHASE BEING SATISFACTORY--- THAT THE LOWEST BID WAS ACCEPTED, OR, IF OTHERWISE, A DETAILED STATEMENT OF THE REASONS FOR ACCEPTING OTHER THAN THE LOWEST BID SHOULD BE FURNISHED.

THE PROPOSED CERTIFICATE "THAT THE LOWEST, MOST SATISFACTORY BID HAD BEEN ACCEPTED" WOULD BE THE STATEMENT OF A CONCLUSION AND FOR THAT REASON WOULD NOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS OFFICE; WHAT IS REQUIRED IS A STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CONDITIONS UPON WHICH THE ACTION IN MAKING A PARTICULAR PURCHASE WAS BASED, THAT BEING NECESSARY TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE AWARD HAD BEEN MADE TO THE LOWEST SATISFACTORY BIDDER AS REQUIRED BY LAW.

THE DECISIONS QUOTED, SUPRA, WERE ON SUBMISSIONS WHICH INVOLVED SINGLE PURCHASES CONSUMMATED BY SINGLE PAYMENTS, AND AS TO THAT CLASS IT IS INCUMBENT UPON THOSE SUBMITTING THE VOUCHERS TO A DISBURSING OFFICER FOR PAYMENT TO SEE TO IT THAT THE NECESSARY SHOWING AS TO COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF LAW, AS STATED IN THE DECISIONS QUOTED, IS MADE, AND THE DISBURSING OFFICER WILL NOT BE PROTECTED IF HE MAKES PAYMENTS OF SUCH ITEMS ON VOUCHERS WHICH DO NOT SHOW SUCH COMPLIANCE.

WITH RESPECT TO CONTRACTS, GENERALLY REFERRED TO AS CONTINUOUS SERVICE CONTRACTS, WHICH CONTEMPLATE A SERIES OF PURCHASES BY THE SAME OR DIFFERENT PURCHASING OFFICERS, AND PAYMENTS BY THE SAME OR DIFFERENT DISBURSING OFFICERS, IT IS PERMISSIBLE AND SATISFACTORY THAT THE INFORMATION WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOWEST, MOST SATISFACTORY BID ACCOMPANY THE CONTRACT WHEN IT IS DEPOSITED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3743, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, EACH VOUCHER PAID TO REFER TO SUCH CONTRACT SO THAT IT MAY BE READILY IDENTIFIED, AND EACH DISBURSING OFFICER MAKING PAYMENT TO BE COGNIZANT OF THE FACT THAT THE REQUIRED SHOWING HAS BEEN MADE. SEE 25 COMP. DEC. 437; 3 COMP. GEN. 441.