A-61595, MAY 24, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 852

A-61595: May 24, 1935

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ON THE BOULDER DAM WILL BE IN CONNECTION WITH AND A PART OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PROJECT. THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR CONSTRUCTION WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH ITEMS. WHERE THE PURPOSE OF ADVERTISING IS THE SELECTION OF THE MOST SUITABLE AND ARTISTIC DESIGN FOR SCULPTURE. AS FOLLOWS: BOULDER DAM IS NEARING COMPLETION. IT IS TO CREATE THE LARGEST ARTIFICIAL LAKE IN THE WORLD AND WILL MAKE AVAILABLE FOR USE THE ENTIRE FLOW OF THE COLORADO RIVER. 000 PEOPLE AND WILL IN TIME BE THE CHIEF WATER SUPPLY FOR 10. THE CULMINATING ARCHITECTURAL FEATURE OF THE DAM IS TWO TOWERS WHICH WILL BE THE ENTRANCES TO THE TWO ELEVATORS THAT WILL CARRY PEOPLE FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM OF THE DAM. ON THE FRONT OF EACH TOWER AND ABOVE THE ENTRANCE THE PLANS CALL FOR TWO BAS-RELIEFS WHICH WILL SYMBOLIZE THE RELATION OF THIS DAM TO THE LIFE OF THE ARID WEST.

A-61595, MAY 24, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 852

TABLETS AND MEMORIALS - BOULDER DAM AS THE PLACING OF PANELS, TABLETS, INSCRIPTIONS, ETC., ON THE BOULDER DAM WILL BE IN CONNECTION WITH AND A PART OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PROJECT, THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR CONSTRUCTION WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH ITEMS. WHERE THE PURPOSE OF ADVERTISING IS THE SELECTION OF THE MOST SUITABLE AND ARTISTIC DESIGN FOR SCULPTURE, MEDALS OR MEMORIAL TABLETS, THE PRIMARY WORTH BEING IN THE DESIGN, THE ORDINARY PROCEDURE MAY BE REVERSED AND THE AMOUNT TO BE EXPENDED FIXED IN ADVANCE AND KNOWN ARTISTS INVITED TO SUBMIT THE BEST DESIGN WHICH THEY CAN FURNISH FOR THAT SUM.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, MAY 24, 1935:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 23, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

BOULDER DAM IS NEARING COMPLETION. ITS HEIGHT, 730 FEET, MAKES IT THE OUTSTANDING STRUCTURE OF ITS CLASS IN ALL COUNTRIES AND ALL TIMES. IT IS TO CREATE THE LARGEST ARTIFICIAL LAKE IN THE WORLD AND WILL MAKE AVAILABLE FOR USE THE ENTIRE FLOW OF THE COLORADO RIVER, A RIVER WHICH NOW HOLDS THE KEY TO THE SECURITY AND WELFARE OF 3,000,000 PEOPLE AND WILL IN TIME BE THE CHIEF WATER SUPPLY FOR 10,000,000. THE CULMINATING ARCHITECTURAL FEATURE OF THE DAM IS TWO TOWERS WHICH WILL BE THE ENTRANCES TO THE TWO ELEVATORS THAT WILL CARRY PEOPLE FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM OF THE DAM. ON THE FRONT OF EACH TOWER AND ABOVE THE ENTRANCE THE PLANS CALL FOR TWO BAS-RELIEFS WHICH WILL SYMBOLIZE THE RELATION OF THIS DAM TO THE LIFE OF THE ARID WEST, AND ON EACH SIDE OF THE TWO TOWER ENTRANCES THERE ARE TO BE BRONZE TABLETS GIVING THE HISTORY OF THIS ACHIEVEMENT. AT THE BASE OF THE MEMORIAL FLAGSTAFF THERE SHOULD BE A MODEL FOR THE PROW OF THE BASE AND A SMALL BRONZE TABLET.

HOWEVER THIS WORK MAY APPEAL TO THE MULTITUDES WHO WILL VISIT THIS DAM, ITS INNER SIGNIFICANCE WILL DEPEND ALMOST WHOLLY ON THE GENIUS OF THE ARTIST WHO PREPARES THE DESIGNS FOR THE SCULPTURED PANELS AND FOR THE BRONZE INSCRIPTIONS. REALIZING THIS, I HAVE REACHED THE CONCLUSION THAT THE BEST EQUIPPED SCULPTOR IN THIS COUNTRY TO CARRY OUT THIS DESIGN IS LORADO TAFT, THE DESIGNER OF THE COLUMBUS FOUNTAIN IN FRONT OF UNION STATION AND, AS YOU KNOW, OF MANY OTHER NOTABLE WORKS. MR. TAFT IS PROMINENT IN THIS PARTICULAR FIELD AND POSSESSES THE VISION AND HAS THE NATURAL ENDOWMENT TO CREATE SOMETHING WORTHY OF THE DISTINGUISHED SETTING AT BOULDER CANYON. WHAT IS DESIRED IS IN NO SENSE AN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT AND IT COULD NOT BE SECURED BY ADVERTISEMENT AND BIDDING. I HAVE APPROACHED MR. TAFT AND HE IS WILLING TO SUPERVISE THE CHARACTER DESIGN AND SUPERVISE THE CASTING OF THE TABLETS, DESIGN AND PREPARE FORMS FOR THE TEN SCULPTURAL PANELS, THE FOUR MODELS OF BRONZE INSCRIPTIONS, THE SMALL BRONZE FOR THE FLAGSTAFF, AND THE MODEL FOR THE BASE OF THE FLAGSTAFF FOR THE SUM OF $10,000.

IT IS PROPOSED TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH MR. TAFT TO PERFORM THE ASSIGNMENT DESCRIBED AND YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR THIS PROJECT MAY BE CHARGED WITH THE SUM NAMED UNDER A CONTRACT.

IN DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, 19 COMP. DEC. 100, THERE WAS AFFIRMED A DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR PAYMENTS FOR A MEMORIAL TABLET ERECTED IN THE ARMY WAR COLLEGE, WASHINGTON, D.C., AS A CHARGE UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "BARRACKS AND QUARTERS.' IN THAT DECISION REFERENCE WAS MADE TO A PREVIOUS DECISION IN WHICH IT WAS HELD SUCH PAYMENTS WERE NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "MAINTENANCE OF ARMY WAR COLLEGE" AND IN WHICH IT WAS STATED THAT A TABLET SO ERECTED WAS "MORE PROPERLY IDENTIFIED WITH CONSTRUCTION OF THE BUILDING; OR, THAT HAVING BEEN COMPLETED, WITH IMPROVEMENT.' THE APPROPRIATIONS CONSIDERED IN THOSE DECISIONS CONTAINED NO PROVISION FOR CONSTRUCTION OR IMPROVEMENT OF THE BUILDING.

AS THE PLACING OF THE PANELS, TABLETS, INSCRIPTIONS, ETC., ON THE BOULDER DAM WILL BE IN CONNECTION WITH AND AS A PART OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PROJECT, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION WILL BE AVAILABLE, ALSO, FOR SUCH ITEMS. A-26628, APRIL 11, 1929.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR PROPOSAL TO AWARD THIS WORK TO MR. TAFT WITHOUT ADVERTISING OR OTHER FORM OF COMPETITION, YOU ARE INFORMED THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES, WITH RESPECT TO ADVERTISING ARE APPLICABLE TO CONTRACTS FOR SERVICES AS WELL AS TO CONTRACTS FOR SUPPLIES. HOWEVER, IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT WHERE THE PURPOSE IS THE SELECTION OF THE MOST SUITABLE AND ARTISTIC DESIGN FOR SCULPTURE, MEDALS, OR MEMORIAL TABLETS, THE PRIMARY WORTH BEING IN THE DESIGN AND EXECUTION, THE ORDINARY PROCEDURE MAY BE REVERSED AND THE AMOUNT TO BE EXPENDED FIXED IN ADVANCE IN A SUM CONSIDERED TO BE THE REASONABLE VALUE OF THE SERVICES SOLICITED AND KNOWN ARTISTS INVITED TO SUBMIT THE BEST DESIGN WHICH THEY CAN FURNISH FOR THAT SUM. 9 COMP. GEN. 63; A-13559, APRIL 5, 1926; AND A-37686, AUGUST 1, 1931. THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO REASON WHY THAT PROCEDURE SHOULD NOT BE FOLLOWED IN THIS INSTANCE AND THE SERVICES OF THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS BE AVAILED OF IN THE SELECTION OF THE DESIGNS AND THE ARTIST FOR THE EXECUTION OF THE SAME.

ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THE EXECUTION OF A CONTRACT FOR THIS WORK WITHOUT FIRST SUBMITTING THE MATTER TO COMPETITION IN THE MANNER SUGGESTED, IS NOT AUTHORIZED.