A-70695, FEBRUARY 20, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 712

A-70695: Feb 20, 1936

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DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR SPLITTING OF AWARDS OF CONTRACTS FOR PAPER FOR USE OF THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WHERE IDENTICAL BIDS ARE SUBMITTED ON IDENTICAL QUALITIES OF PAPER. I WISH TO ADVISE THAT WHERE THE PRICE IS IDENTICAL IT HAS BEEN OUR PRACTICE TO RECOMMEND SPLIT AWARDS IN ORDER TO BETTER DISTRIBUTE THE TONNAGE GEOGRAPHICALLY. THIS IS TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERED AN ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTION. SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR THIS ACTION IS FOUND IN SECTION 4 OF THE PRINTING ACT OF JANUARY 12. IT SHALL STATE THAT PROPOSALS WILL BE RECEIVED FOR ONE THOUSAND REAMS OR MORE. THEY SHALL NOT CONSIDER ANY PROPOSAL WHICH IS NOT ACCOMPANIED BY A BOND APPROVED BY A JUDGE OR CLERK OF A COURT OF RECORD IN THE PENALTY OF FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS THAT THE BIDDER OR BIDDERS.

A-70695, FEBRUARY 20, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 712

CONTRACTS - PAPER - GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE - IDENTICAL BIDS SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF JANUARY 12, 1895, 28 STAT. 601, 602, DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR SPLITTING OF AWARDS OF CONTRACTS FOR PAPER FOR USE OF THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WHERE IDENTICAL BIDS ARE SUBMITTED ON IDENTICAL QUALITIES OF PAPER. IN SUCH CASES THE AWARDS SHOULD BE BY LOT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE PUBLIC PRINTER, FEBRUARY 20, 1936:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 23, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

IN REPLY TO YOUR COMMUNICATION OF DECEMBER 20, 1935 (REFERENCE A JSB-CE), RELATIVE TO OUR CONTRACTS FOR 259,500 POUNDS OF SUPERCALENDERED BOOK PAPER AND 143,500 POUNDS OF WHITE SULPHITE BOND PAPER, THE FIRST LOT BEING DIVIDED BETWEEN THREE CONTRACTORS AND THE LATTER LOT BETWEEN FOUR CONTRACTORS, I WISH TO ADVISE THAT WHERE THE PRICE IS IDENTICAL IT HAS BEEN OUR PRACTICE TO RECOMMEND SPLIT AWARDS IN ORDER TO BETTER DISTRIBUTE THE TONNAGE GEOGRAPHICALLY, AND TO REACH MILLS BEST EQUIPPED TO SUPPLY THE PARTICULAR GRADE OF PAPER AS SHOWN BY OUR PAST EXPERIENCE. OBVIOUSLY, THIS IS TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERED AN ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTION, CARRYING THE APPROVAL OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING.

SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR THIS ACTION IS FOUND IN SECTION 4 OF THE PRINTING ACT OF JANUARY 12, 1895.

THE REFERRED TO SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF JANUARY 12, 1895, 28 STAT. 601, 602, WITH RESPECT TO THE PURCHASE OF PAPER FOR THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, PROVIDED THAT:

THE ADVERTISEMENTS SHALL SPECIFY THE MINIMUM PORTION OF EACH QUALITY OF PAPER REQUIRED FOR EITHER THREE MONTHS, SIX MONTHS, OR ONE YEAR, AS THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING MAY DETERMINE; BUT WHEN THE MINIMUM PORTION SO SPECIFIED EXCEEDS, IN ANY CASE, ONE THOUSAND REAMS, IT SHALL STATE THAT PROPOSALS WILL BE RECEIVED FOR ONE THOUSAND REAMS OR MORE.

SAID STATUTE DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR SPLITTING OF AWARD AMONG BIDDERS SUBMITTING IDENTICAL PRICES ON IDENTICAL QUALITIES OF PAPER. SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JANUARY 12, 1895, 28 STAT. 602, PROVIDED THAT:

THE SEALED PROPOSALS TO FURNISH PAPER SHALL BE OPENED IN THE PRESENCE OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON PRINTING, AND THE CONTRACTS SHALL BE AWARDED BY THEM TO THE LOWEST AND BEST BIDDER FOR THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT; BUT THEY SHALL NOT CONSIDER ANY PROPOSAL WHICH IS NOT ACCOMPANIED BY A BOND APPROVED BY A JUDGE OR CLERK OF A COURT OF RECORD IN THE PENALTY OF FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS THAT THE BIDDER OR BIDDERS, IF HIS OR THEIR PROPOSAL IS ACCEPTED, SHALL ENTER INTO A CONTRACT TO FURNISH THE ARTICLES PROPOSED FOR AND BY SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE THAT THE PERSON MAKING IT IS A MANUFACTURER OF OR DEALER IN THE DESCRIPTION OF PAPER WHICH HE PROPOSES TO FURNISH.

IN OTHER WORDS, SECTION 5, AS WELL AS SECTION 16, OF THE ACT OF JANUARY 12, 1895, REQUIRED THAT CONTRACTS FOR THE DELIVERY OF PAPER FOR USE OF THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE SHALL BE MADE WITH THE "LOWEST AND BEST BIDDER," THAT IS, THE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE BIDDER, AND THE PROCEDURE IS ESTABLISHED THAT WHERE IDENTICAL BIDS ARE SUBMITTED THE AWARD SHALL BE BY LOT. 13 COMP. GEN. 233. THAT PROCEDURE SHOULD HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED IN THE INSTANT CASE, BUT DUE TO THE APPARENT ADMINISTRATIVE MISUNDERSTANDING THESE PARTICULAR CONTRACTS WILL NOT BE FURTHER QUESTIONED, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.