A-59182, JANUARY 4, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 518

A-59182: Jan 4, 1935

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SPECIFICATIONS - RESTRICTIVE CONDITIONS - BIDS A STIPULATION IN GOVERNMENT SPECIFICATIONS FOR MOTOR TRUCKS AS TO THE PARTICULAR MANNER OF MOUNTING A SPARE TIRE IS ARBITRARY AND UNNECESSARY TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE UNITED STATES. THE REJECTION OF THE LOWEST BID FOR FAILURE TO MEET SUCH A STIPULATION IS UNWARRANTED. YOU HAVE STATED THAT AS THE RESULT OF THE PROTEST. HAD ELIMINATED SUCH REQUIREMENT BY A PROVISION IN PARAGRAPH D-14 THEREOF THAT WHEN SPARE TIRE WAS SPECIFIED. ONE SPARE WHEEL OR RIM WAS TO BE FURNISHED WITH EACH SPARE TIRE "SAFELY AND CONVENIENTLY MOUNTED ON SUITABLE CARRIER AND PROVIDED WITH LOCK AND KEY" WITH THE MOUNTING SO ARRANGED THAT THERE WOULD BE NO INTERFERENCE WITH SAFE AND EFFICIENT LOADING AND OPERATION OF THE TRUCK AND NO INTERFERENCE WITH CAB DOOR OPENING NOR WITH THE DRIVER'S VISION.

A-59182, JANUARY 4, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 518

SPECIFICATIONS - RESTRICTIVE CONDITIONS - BIDS A STIPULATION IN GOVERNMENT SPECIFICATIONS FOR MOTOR TRUCKS AS TO THE PARTICULAR MANNER OF MOUNTING A SPARE TIRE IS ARBITRARY AND UNNECESSARY TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE UNITED STATES, THE REJECTION OF THE LOWEST BID FOR FAILURE TO MEET SUCH A STIPULATION IS UNWARRANTED, AND PAYMENT UNDER THE CONTRACT RESULTING FROM AN AWARD TO A HIGHER BIDDER MAY NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST PRICE BID.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JANUARY 4, 1935:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR REPORT OF DECEMBER 26, 1934, WITH INCLOSURES, IN RESPONSE TO MY LETTER OF DECEMBER 15, 1934, RELATIVE TO A PROTEST OF GENERAL MOTORS TRUCK CO. AGAINST THE TERMS OF SPECIFICATIONS U.S.D.I. 8, DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1934, FOR BIDS TO BE OPENED SEPTEMBER 11, 1934, FOR THE DELIVERY OF A NUMBER OF TRUCKS AND AS TO THE REQUIREMENT IN PARAGRAPH D-14 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS THAT ONE SPARE TIRE AND TUBE ON SPARE RIM OR WHEEL SHOULD BE PROVIDED "MOUNTED IN LEFT FRONT FENDER WELL.' YOU HAVE STATED THAT AS THE RESULT OF THE PROTEST, SUBSEQUENT SPECIFICATIONS, INCLUDING U.S.D.I. 147, DATED NOVEMBER 16, 1934, FOR BIDS TO BE OPENED NOVEMBER 26, 1934, HAD ELIMINATED SUCH REQUIREMENT BY A PROVISION IN PARAGRAPH D-14 THEREOF THAT WHEN SPARE TIRE WAS SPECIFIED, ONE SPARE WHEEL OR RIM WAS TO BE FURNISHED WITH EACH SPARE TIRE "SAFELY AND CONVENIENTLY MOUNTED ON SUITABLE CARRIER AND PROVIDED WITH LOCK AND KEY" WITH THE MOUNTING SO ARRANGED THAT THERE WOULD BE NO INTERFERENCE WITH SAFE AND EFFICIENT LOADING AND OPERATION OF THE TRUCK AND NO INTERFERENCE WITH CAB DOOR OPENING NOR WITH THE DRIVER'S VISION.

THE MATTER OF ARBITRARY RESTRICTIONS IN SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE PURCHASE OF MOTOR TRUCKS WAS CONSIDERED AT SOME LENGTH IN 13 COMP. GEN. 284, 291, AND IT APPEARS TO BE OBVIOUS THAT WHETHER A SPARE TIRE BE MOUNTED IN A FENDER WELL, AS REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS OF SEPTEMBER 5, 1934, OR SUITABLY MOUNTED, ACCORDING TO THE COMMERCIAL PRACTICES OF THE BIDDER, AS STATED, IN EFFECT, IN THE SPECIFICATIONS OF NOVEMBER 16, 1934, IS WHOLLY INCONSEQUENTIAL INSOFAR AS THE NEEDS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THESE TRUCKS MAY BE CONCERNED. IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD WHY THE PURCHASING OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR WAS PERMITTED TO ISSUE THE SPECIFICATIONS OF SEPTEMBER 5, 1934, WITH ANY SUCH ARBITRARY RESTRICTION ON COMPETITION, AS CONTAINED THEREIN WITH RESPECT TO THE MOUNTING OF THE SPARE TIRE AND WHICH HAS RESULTED NOT ONLY IN THE PROTEST OF THE GENERAL MOTORS TRUCK CO., BUT IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN IN AWARDING THE CONTRACT TO A HIGHER BIDDER FOR THE DELIVERY OF THE TRUCKS. THIS OFFICE IS UNABLE, ON THE PRESENT RECORD, TO CONCLUDE THAT THERE IS ANY LEGAL JUSTIFICATION WHATEVER FOR CHARGING APPROPRIATED MONEYS WITH INCREASED AMOUNTS UNDER THE CONTRACT AWARDED TO THE INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER CO. SIMPLY BECAUSE THE SPARE TIRES ON ITS TRUCKS WERE MOUNTED IN A FENDER WELL, WHILE THE SPARE TIRES ON THE TRUCKS OFFERED BY THE GENERAL MOTORS TRUCK CO. WERE MOUNTED, APPARENTLY, IN EXACTLY THE SAME POSITION, EXCEPT THAT THERE WAS NO FENDER WELL IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRUCKS OFFERED BY THE GENERAL MOTORS TRUCK CO.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENTS UNDER THE CONTRACT AWARDED TO THE INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER CO. MAY NOT, UPON THE PRESENT RECORD, EXCEED THE LOWER BID PRICES SUBMITTED BY THE GENERAL MOTORS TRUCK CO. ..END :