A-70588, MARCH 25, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 846

A-70588: Mar 25, 1936

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

PERSONAL SERVICES - STENOTYPE OPERATORS IN THE ABSENCE OF A JUSTIFYING PUBLIC NEED THE RESTRICTION IN COMPETITION FOR STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING TO STENOTYPE OPERATORS IS NOT A COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 3709. IS UNAUTHORIZED. DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY 1936 IT WAS FOUND NECESSARY TO CALL A CONFERENCE OF REGIONAL DIRECTORS OF THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION. AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING REPORTING SERVICE FOR SUCH CONFERENCE WAS DRAWN BY OUR PURCHASE AND TRAFFIC SECTION. COMPETITIVE BIDS WERE SOLICITED BY SENDING U.S. ALTHOUGH ONLY ONE DAY'S NOTICE WAS GIVEN FOR THE SUBMISSION OF BIDS. THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN REPLY AND THE LOWEST ONE. WAS ACCEPTED. WE DETERMINED TO HAVE THE PROCEEDINGS IN QUESTION TRANSCRIBED BY STENOTYPE OPERATORS INSTEAD OF SHORTHAND REPORTERS.

A-70588, MARCH 25, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 846

PERSONAL SERVICES - STENOTYPE OPERATORS IN THE ABSENCE OF A JUSTIFYING PUBLIC NEED THE RESTRICTION IN COMPETITION FOR STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING TO STENOTYPE OPERATORS IS NOT A COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES, AND IS UNAUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION, MARCH 25, 1936:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR REPORT OF MARCH 12, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 7, 1936, HAS BEEN RECEIVED, SETTING FORTH A LETTER RECEIVED FROM WARD AND PAUL, SHORTHAND REPORTERS, WITH REFERENCE TO INVITATION NO. RA-0188, ISSUED BY THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION. YOU REQUESTED THAT WE FORWARD TO YOUR OFFICE A COPY OF THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS, AN ABSTRACT OF THE BIDS RECEIVED, TOGETHER WITH A FULL REPORT OF ALL THE FACTS IN THE MATTER.

DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY 1936 IT WAS FOUND NECESSARY TO CALL A CONFERENCE OF REGIONAL DIRECTORS OF THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION, TO BE HELD ON JANUARY 25, 1936, IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING REPORTING SERVICE FOR SUCH CONFERENCE WAS DRAWN BY OUR PURCHASE AND TRAFFIC SECTION, AND COMPETITIVE BIDS WERE SOLICITED BY SENDING U.S. STANDARD FORM 33 (REVISED), PROPERLY FILLED OUT, TO ALL LISTED STENOTYPE SERVICE COMPANIES WITHIN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. ALTHOUGH ONLY ONE DAY'S NOTICE WAS GIVEN FOR THE SUBMISSION OF BIDS, THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN REPLY AND THE LOWEST ONE, THAT OF THE ALDERSON STENOTYPE SERVICE, WAS ACCEPTED.

WE DETERMINED TO HAVE THE PROCEEDINGS IN QUESTION TRANSCRIBED BY STENOTYPE OPERATORS INSTEAD OF SHORTHAND REPORTERS, DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE CONFERENCE WAS A LARGE ONE, AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE TO REQUEST THE SPEAKERS TO REPEAT ANYTHING WHICH MIGHT HAVE BEEN MISSED BY SHORTHAND REPORTERS. IT WAS FELT THAT THE USE OF STENOTYPE SERVICE WOULD AVOID THIS POSSIBILITY, BECAUSE STENOTYPE OPERATORS ARE ABLE, THROUGH THE USE OF THEIR MACHINES, TO TAKE NOTES MUCH MORE RAPIDLY THAN SHORTHAND REPORTERS. FURTHERMORE, STENOTYPE OPERATORS ARE ABLE TO TURN OUT THE TRANSCRIPTION MORE QUICKLY THAN SHORTHAND REPORTERS BECAUSE THEIR NOTES CAN BE INTERPRETED AND TRANSCRIBED, NOT ONLY BY THE PERSON ACTUALLY TAKING THE NOTES, BUT BY ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH THE STENOTYPE SYSTEM. IT WAS FELT NECESSARY, FURTHERMORE, TO HAVE THE NOTES TRANSCRIBED AND DISTRIBUTED AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE DURING THE CONFERENCE, AND, THROUGH THE USE OF STENOTYPE MACHINES, TAPE CAN BE WITHDRAWN WHILE THE OPERATOR IS STILL TAKING NOTES, AND TRANSCRIBED BY ANOTHER, WITHOUT ANY INTERRUPTION.

WHILE THE IMMEDIATE NEED WAS CAUSED BY THE PARTICULAR CONFERENCE CALLED FOR JANUARY 25, 1936, IT WAS FELT DESIRABLE TO OBVIATE AT THE SAME TIME THE NECESSITY FOR ADVERTISING AT SOME FUTURE DATE FOR REPORTING SERVICE FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE FISCAL YEAR. FOR THE REASONS GIVEN ABOVE, AND BECAUSE WE HAVE FOUND THE USE OF STENOTYPE SERVICE TO BE NOT ONLY PREFERABLE TO SHORTHAND REPORTING SERVICE, BUT ALSO A NECESSITY FOR THE TYPE OF CONFERENCE HELD BY THIS ADMINISTRATION, THE ADVERTISEMENT WAS LIMITED TO THE FORMER TYPE OF SERVICE. FURTHERMORE, IN THE CASE OF THOSE CONFERENCES WHICH WILL NOT REQUIRE THE SERVICES OF EXPERT STENOTYPISTS, WE ARE NOT PRECLUDED FROM USING OUR OWN EMPLOYEES, WHETHER OR NOT THEY BE STENOTYPISTS. IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS OUR INTENTION TO USE THE SERVICES CONTRACTED FOR ONLY WHERE THE EXIGENCIES OF A PARTICULAR SITUATION MAKE IT NECESSARY THAT WE DO SO.

ATTACHED HERETO IS A COPY OF THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS AND ABSTRACT OF THE BIDS RECEIVED.

THERE HAS BEEN NO SUCH SHOWING OF FACTS AS WOULD JUSTIFY THE CONCLUSION THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES, ARE SATISFIED BY ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS FOR REPORTING SERVICE WHICH WOULD RESTRICT COMPETITION TO STENOTYPE REPORTING--- PARTICULARLY WHEN IT IS WELL KNOWN THAT THE DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS ON THE FLOOR OF THE CONGRESS, FOR INSTANCE, ARE TAKEN MANUALLY BY SHORTHAND REPORTERS AND THAT THE RESULTS OF ANY DAY'S PROCEEDINGS ARE TRANSCRIBED, PRINTED, AND MADE AVAILABLE BEFORE THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE NEXT DAY'S PROCEEDINGS; ALSO, WHEN IT IS WELL KNOWN THAT VARIOUS CONFERENCES AND HEARINGS ARE MANUALLY REPORTED. IT IS NOT THE METHOD OF REPORTING WHICH IS MATERIAL, BUT WHETHER THE REPORTING IS ACCURATELY AND PROPERLY PERFORMED AND THE PROCEEDINGS TRANSCRIBED.

AS STATED, THERE HAS BEEN SHOWN NO PUBLIC NEED WHICH WOULD JUSTIFY THE RESTRICTION IN COMPETITION IN THIS INSTANCE TO STENOTYPE REPORTING, AND THERE SHOULD BE NO FURTHER REPORTING ORDERED UNDER THE CONTRACT IN QUESTION. IN VIEW OF THE APPARENT ADMINISTRATIVE MISUNDERSTANDING AS TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES, NO OBJECTION WILL BE RAISED BY THIS OFFICE TO THE PAYMENTS HERETOFORE MADE UNDER THE CONTRACT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.