A-88445, JUNE 23, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 1098

A-88445: Jun 23, 1938

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ADVERTISING - BIDS - EVALUATION - FREIGHT EQUALIZATION OFFERS - PRIOR FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY UNDER SUBSTITUTED AWARD WHERE TWO FREIGHT EQUALIZATION OFFERS WERE MADE BY THE SAME BIDDER. ONE OF WHICH IS RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION FOR BIDS AND THE OTHER NOT FOR THE REASON THAT THE INVITATION SPECIFICALLY STATED SUCH AN ADDITIONAL OFFER WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED. AS THE LAND-GRANT SAVINGS UNDER THE RESPONSIVE OFFER IS SUCH THAT THE BID IS NOT LOW. IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY FOUND THAT THE OFFER OF THAT BIDDER IS STILL OPEN FOR ACCEPTANCE AND SUCH AWARD IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST. IS AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO CONTRACT FILED IN YOUR OFFICE UNDER NO. WHEREIN IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE DEPARTMENT FAILED TO PROPERLY INTERPRET ITS OFFER TO EQUALIZE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES.

A-88445, JUNE 23, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 1098

ADVERTISING - BIDS - EVALUATION - FREIGHT EQUALIZATION OFFERS - PRIOR FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY UNDER SUBSTITUTED AWARD WHERE TWO FREIGHT EQUALIZATION OFFERS WERE MADE BY THE SAME BIDDER, ONE OF WHICH IS RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION FOR BIDS AND THE OTHER NOT FOR THE REASON THAT THE INVITATION SPECIFICALLY STATED SUCH AN ADDITIONAL OFFER WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED, ONLY THE RESPONSIVE OFFER MAY BE CONSIDERED, AND, AS THE LAND-GRANT SAVINGS UNDER THE RESPONSIVE OFFER IS SUCH THAT THE BID IS NOT LOW, PERFORMANCE MAY NOT BE REQUIRED UNDER THE AWARD MADE ON THE BASIS OF AN INTERPRETATION MOST FAVORABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BIDDER'S UNRESPONSIVE OFFER, BUT THE APPROPRIATION ALREADY ENCUMBERED BY THE PRIOR AWARD MAY BE CONSIDERED AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF AN AWARD NOW MADE TO THE OTHERWISE LOW BIDDER EVEN THOUGH SUBSEQUENT TO THE CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR INVOLVED, IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY FOUND THAT THE OFFER OF THAT BIDDER IS STILL OPEN FOR ACCEPTANCE AND SUCH AWARD IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST. A-75336, JULY 3, 1936, REGARDING THE RESPONSIVENESS AND INTERPRETATION OF THE FREIGHT EQUALIZATION OFFER THERE INVOLVED, DISTINGUISHED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JUNE 23, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 18, 1937, IS AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO CONTRACT FILED IN YOUR OFFICE UNDER NO. ALS-ECW 2990 (USDA 10,727), AWARDED TO THE BETHLEHEM STEEL COMPANY, AND TO CONTRACTOR'S LETTER DATED JULY 24, 1937, ATTACHED, WHEREIN IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE DEPARTMENT FAILED TO PROPERLY INTERPRET ITS OFFER TO EQUALIZE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES, AND, THEREFORE, REFUSES TO ACCEPT THE AWARD.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION IN MAKING THE DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER THE AWARD AS MADE IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE BIDDER'S OFFER, THERE ARE ALSO TRANSMITTED HEREWITH ALL OTHER BIDS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE DEPARTMENT'S INVITATION AS WELL AS AN ABSTRACT THEREOF.

TO GUARD AGAINST MISUNDERSTANDINGS ARISING FROM THE INTERPRETATION OF AMBIGUOUS OFFERS WITH RESPECT TO EQUALIZATION, THE DEPARTMENT IN RECENT MONTHS INCLUDED IN ITS INVITATIONS FOR BIDS ON STEEL PRODUCTS THE FOLLOWING CLAUSES INTENDED TO DEFINITELY ESTABLISH THE BIDDER'S INTENT TO EQUALIZE:

1. ON THE BASIS OF LOWEST APPLICABLE NET GOVERNMENT FREIGHT RATE.

2. ON THE LOWEST APPLICABLE LAND GRANT RATE.

3. ON THE BASIS OF THE GREATEST SAVINGS.

"UNNECESSARY RIDERS WHICH MERELY DUPLICATE CONDITIONS STATED IN THE SCHEDULES, OR DUPLICATED DATA ENTERED ON STANDARD FORM 33 REVISED, SERVE NO USEFUL PURPOSE, ARE CONFUSING, AND ARE NOT DESIRED. BIDDERS ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO ATTACH SUCH RIDERS.

"IF THE BIDDER DESIRES TO OFFER AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO EQUALIZE THE LOWEST APPLICABLE NET GOVERNMENT FREIGHT RATE OR GOVERNMENT LAND GRANT FREIGHT RATES, OR EQUALIZE THE SAVINGS OR DEDUCTIONS OBTAINED BY THE USE OF GOVERNMENT LAND GRANT FREIGHT RATES, THE FOLLOWING THREE CLAUSES ONLY WILL BE CONSIDERED, AND BIDDER MUST SPECIFY BY INSERTING "YES" OR "NO" IN THE SPACE PROVIDED, IF ANY ONE OF THE THREE CLAUSES IS AGREEABLE.

1. "WE WILL MAKE AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO EQUALIZE THE LOWEST APPLICABLE NET GOVERNMENT FREIGHT RATE FROM THE SHIPPING POINT OF ANY BIDDER. YES-------. NO--------.

2. "WE WILL MAKE AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO EQUALIZE THE LOWEST APPLICABLE GOVERNMENT LAND GRANT FREIGHT RATE FROM THE SHIPPING POINT OF ANY BIDDER. YES --------. NO --------.

3. "WE WILL MAKE AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO EQUALIZE THE MAXIMUM, OR GREATEST SAVING OR DEDUCTION OBTAINED BY THE USE OF GOVERNMENT LAND GRANT FREIGHT RATES FROM THE SHIPPING POINT OF ANY BIDDER. YES------- . NO ----

IN THE BID UNDER DISCUSSION THE BETHLEHEM STEEL COMPANY MADE A NEGATIVE SHOWING UNDER METHODS 1 AND 2 ABOVE, BUT MADE AFFIRMATIVE ACCEPTANCE UNDER METHOD NO. 3 (LAND GRANT SAVINGS), BUT IN DISREGARD TO THE CAUTIONARY PARAGRAPH RELATING TO UNNECESSARY RIDERS ALSO INSERTED AN ADDITIONAL OFFER READING AS FOLLOWS:

"IF SHIPPED ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING AND TITLE TO MATERIAL IS ACCEPTED AT JOHNSTOWN, PA., WE WILL ALLOW COMMERCIAL (PUBLISHED) FREIGHT RATE OF 95 CENTS PER 100 POUNDS.

"IF THE APPLICATION OF LAND GRANT RATES FROM THE SHIPPING POINT OF ANY OTHER BIDDER RESULTS IN A LOWER DELIVERED COST TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE APPLICATION OF LAND GRANT RATES FROM OUR SHIPPING MILL, WE WILL ALLOW ANY ADDITIONAL AMOUNT NECESSARY TO EQUALIZE SUCH LOWER DELIVERED COST.

"AUTHORITY FOR RECOGNITION OF OUR PROPOSAL TO EQUALIZE GOVERNMENTLAND GRANT RATES IS GIVEN IN RULING NO. A-61651, JULY 19, 1935, BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL J. R. MCCARL.'

THE BIDDER'S RESPONSES TO THE THREE METHODS OF EQUALIZATION CONTAINED IN THE INVITATION ARE CLEAR, AND THE ADDITIONAL OFFER SERVED ONLY TO CONFUSE THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER, WHO THEREUPON FOLLOWED THE PRINCIPLE LAID DOWN IN YOUR DECISION A-81760 OF DECEMBER 10, 1936, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT WHERE A BIDDER'S OFFER IS AMBIGUOUS OR SUSCEPTIBLE OF MORE THAN ONE INTERPRETATION, THE INTERPRETATION MOST FAVORABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT MUST BE TAKEN AS INTENDED.

MOREOVER THE PHRASEOLOGY EMPLOYED BY THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO. IS A VERBATIM DUPLICATE OF THAT CONSIDERED IN YOUR DECISION A-75336 OF JULY 3, 1936, EXCEPT FOR THE OMISSION OF THE ADJECTIVE ,FREIGHT" USED TO DEFINE THE NOUN "COST" IN TWO PLACES. IN THE LATTER DECISION THE EXPLANATION OF THE INLAND STEEL CO. THAT "* * * IT WAS CLEARLY OUR INTENTION TO EQUALIZE LAND GRANT FREIGHT RATES AS YOU DESIRE," WAS ACCEPTED AS THE TRUE MEANING OF THE OFFER. ON THE BASIS OF THESE AMPLE PRECEDENTS THE DEPARTMENT COMPUTED EQUALIZATION ON LAND GRANT RATES AS DISTINGUISHED FROM LAND GRANT SAVINGS IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER: LAND GRANT RATE FROM JOHNSTOWN, PA., TO ARDMORE, OKLAHOMA-0.81550 PER CWT LAND GRANT RATE FROM KANSAS CITY, MO., TO ARDMORE,

OKLAHOMA----------------------------------------------- .47890 PER CWT

DIFFERENCE--------------------------------------------- .33660 64,830 LBS. (SHIPPING WEIGHT) TIMES 0.33660 EQUALS $218.22.

IT HAVING THUS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO. WAS THE LOW BIDDER, AWARD WAS MADE ON JUNE 30, 1937, AND PURSUANT THERETO FORMAL PURCHASE ORDER ACCOMPANIED BY GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING WAS DISPATCHED TO THE CONTRACTOR, WHICH WERE RETURNED WITH HIS LETTER OF JULY 24, 1937.

IN ORDER NOT TO DELAY THE PROCUREMENT OF THIS MATERIAL THE DEPARTMENT IN ITS REPLY OF JULY 27, 1937, INFORMED THE CONTRACTOR THAT IT WAS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO AMEND THE CONTRACT, BUT SUGGESTED PERFORMANCE AND RENDITION OF THE VOUCHER, WITH THE ALLEGED CORRECT DEDUCTION, FOR SETTLEMENT BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. HOWEVER, THE SUGGESTED PROCEDURE WAS NOT SATISFACTORY TO THE CONTRACTOR, WHO AGAIN RETURNED THE PURCHASE ORDER WITH THE ADVICE THAT HE CANNOT ACCEPT THE AWARD.

ANALYSIS OF THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO.'S BID FROM THE STANDPOINT OF EQUALIZATION ON LAND GRANT SAVINGS DISCLOSES THAT THE EQUALIZATION COMPUTED, AS BELOW, WOULD AMOUNT TO ONLY $43.16, WHICH WOULD NOT MAKE THIS FIRM THE LOW BIDDER.

TABLE

RATE FROM FAIRFIELD, ALA. (SHIPPING POINT OF BIDDER ENJOYING GREATEST LAND GRANT SAVINGS):

0.72000 COMMERCIAL RATE.

.51893 GOVERNMENT NET RATE.

.20107 SAVINGS.

RATE FROM JOHNSTOWN, PA. (SHIPPING POINT OF BETHLEHEM STEEL CO.):

0.95000 COMMERCIAL RATE.

.81550 GOVERNMENT NET RATE.

.13450 SAVINGS.

0.20107

.13450

.06657 EQUALIZATION PER CWT 0.06657 TIME 64,830 (WEIGHT OF SHIPMENT) EQUALS $43.16 TOTAL EQUALIZATION.

IT IS REQUESTED, THEREFORE, THAT THE FACTS PRESENTED HEREIN BE CONSIDERED, AND WITH THE RETURN OF THE FILE THE DEPARTMENT BE ADVISED:

A. WHETHER IT SHALL REQUIRE PERFORMANCE ON THE PART OF THE CONTRACTOR ON THE BASIS THAT AWARD AS MADE IS A PROPER INTERPRETATION OF THE BIDDER'S OFFER.

B. IN THE EVENT OF A NEGATIVE FINDING UNDER A, ABOVE, IS THE APPROPRIATION 21-4671001 (EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORKS, TRANSFERRED TO WAR, ACT FEB. 9, 1937) 1937, ALREADY ENCUMBERED WITH THE AWARD, AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF AN AWARD TO THE OTHERWISE LOW BIDDER.

IT WAS CLEARLY SET FORTH IN THE INVITATION OF MAY 24, 1937, AS QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, THAT THE ONLY OFFERS TO EQUALIZE FREIGHT RATES WHICH WOULD BE CONSIDERED WERE THOSE WHICH CONFORMED TO ONE OR MORE OF THE THREE FREIGHT EQUALIZATION CLAUSES THEREIN SPECIFICALLY SET FORTH. THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO. DEFINITELY STATED IN ITS BID UNDER THIS INVITATION THAT IT WOULD "MAKE AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO EQUALIZE THE MAXIMUM, OR GREATEST SAVING OR DEDUCTION OBTAINED BY THE USE OF GOVERNMENT LAND-GRANT FREIGHT RATES FROM THE SHIPPING POINT OF ANY BIDDER," IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE THIRD OF THE EQUALIZATION ALTERNATIVES. IN DISREGARD OF THE CAUTIONARY PARAGRAPH AGAINST UNNECESSARY RIDERS, HOWEVER, THE COMPANY ALSO INSERTED AN ADDITIONAL OFFER WHICH PROVIDED IN PERTINENT

IF THE APPLICATION OF LAND GRANT RATES FROM THE SHIPPING POINT OF ANY OTHER BIDDER RESULTS IN A LOWER DELIVERED COST TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE APPLICATION OF LAND GRANT RATES FROM OUR SHIPPING MILL, WE WILL ALLOW

IF THE APPLICATION OF LAND GRANT RATES FROM THE SHIPPING POINT OF ANY OTHER BIDDER RESULTS IN A LOWER DELIVERED COST TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE APPLICATION OF LAND GRANT RATES FROM OUR SHIPPING MILL, WE WILL ALLOW ANY ADDITIONAL AMOUNT NECESSARY TO EQUALIZE SUCH LOWER DELIVERED COST.

THIS RIDER INSERTED IN THE BID MUST BE DISREGARDED FOR THE REASON THAT THE INVITATION SPECIFICALLY STATED THAT SUCH AN ADDITIONAL OFFER WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED. WHERE TWO OFFERS ARE MADE BY THE SAME BIDDER UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES SUCH AS THOSE HERE PRESENT, ONE OF WHICH IS RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION AND ANOTHER WHICH IS NOT, ONLY THE RESPONSIVE OFFER MAY BE CONSIDERED. FOR PRESENT PURPOSES, THEREFORE, IT IS AS THOUGH THE ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL OF THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO. RESPECTING FREIGHT EQUALIZATION HAD NEVER BEEN MADE.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE ADDITIONAL OFFER SERVED TO CONFUSE THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER, WHO THEREUPON FOLLOWED THE PRINCIPLE SET FORTH IN A-81760 OF DECEMBER 10, 1936, THAT WHERE A BIDDER'S OFFER IS SUSCEPTIBLE OF MORE THAN ONE INTERPRETATION, THE INTERPRETATION MOST FAVORABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE FOLLOWED. SINCE IN THE PRESENT CASE, HOWEVER, THE ADDITIONAL OFFER, BY THE VERY TERMS OF THE INVITATION, WAS NOT FOR CONSIDERATION, ONLY THE RESPONSIVE OFFER REMAINED, AND, THEREFORE, AMBIGUITY WAS AUTOMATICALLY REMOVED AND NEED FOR APPLICATION OF THE ABOVE RULE ELIMINATED.

IT IS FURTHER STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE PHRASEOLOGY EMPLOYED BY THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO.'S ADDITIONAL OFFER WAS LIKE THAT CONSIDERED IN A-75336 OF JULY 3, 1936,"EXCEPT FOR THE OMISSION OF THE ADJECTIVE "FREIGHT" USED TO DEFINE THE NOUN "COST" IN TWO PLACES," AND THAT SINCE A SUBSEQUENT EXPLANATION BY THE BIDDER THERE INVOLVED, THE INLAND STEEL CO., THAT ITS INTENTION WAS TO EQUALIZE FREIGHT RATES ON THE BASIS SET FORTH IN THE INVITATION WAS ACCEPTED AS A PROPER INTERPRETATION OF THE OFFER, A SIMILAR INTERPRETATION SHOULD BE PLACED UPON THE OFFER IN THE PRESENT CASE.

IN THAT CASE THE INLAND STEEL CO., AMONG OTHERS, SUBMITTED A BID IN RESPONSE TO AN INVITATION WHICH CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING PROVISION RELATIVE TO OFFERS OF FREIGHT EQUALIZATION:

IF BIDDER DESIRES TO OFFER AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO EQUALIZE GOVERNMENT LAND GRANT FREIGHT RATES, THE FOLLOWING CLAUSE ONLY WILL BE CONSIDERED AND BIDDER MUST SIGNIFY IN THE SPACE PROVIDED BY "YES" OR "NO," WHETHER SUCH CLAUSE IS AGREEABLE.

WE WILL MAKE AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO EQUALIZE THE LOWEST, NET APPLICABLE LAND GRANT FREIGHT RATE FROM THE SHIPPING POINT OF ANY BIDDER. YES-------- NO--------.

THE INLAND STEEL CO. DELETED THIS EQUALIZATION CLAUSE--- THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE ONE--- AND INSERTED IN LIEU THEREOF THE FOLLOWING:

IF THE APPLICATION OF LAND GRANT RATES FROM THE SHIPPING POINT OF ANY OTHER BIDDER RESULTS IN A LOWER DELIVERED FREIGHT COST TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE APPLICATION OF LAND GRANT RATES FROM OUR SHIPPING MILL, WE WILL ALLOW ANY ADDITIONAL AMOUNT NECESSARY TO EQUALIZE SUCH LOWER DELIVERED FREIGHT COST.

BY A-75336 OF JUNE 1, 1936, THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE WAS INFORMED THAT BIDS OF THIS AND SIMILAR NATURE WERE NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION AND THAT NO OBJECTION WOULD BE RAISED IF THEY WERE NOT CONSIDERED IN MAKING THE AWARD. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE INLAND STEEL CO. EXPLAINED THAT "IT WAS CLEARLY OUR INTENTION TO EQUALIZE LAND-GRANT FREIGHT RATES AS YOU DESIRE," AND, ACCORDINGLY, THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE WAS INFORMED BY A- 75336 OF JULY 3, 1936, THAT:

* * * UPON THE EXPLANATION NOW OFFERED AND THE COMMITMENT THAT THE MEANING OF THE SUBSTITUTE CLAUSE WAS BONA FIDE INTENDED TO BE WHAT ITS PLAIN LANGUAGE DENOTES, THE BID OF THE INLAND STEEL CO. MAY BE CONSIDERED AS RESPONSIVE TO THE SPECIFICATIONS.

WHILE IT IS TRUE AS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE ADDITIONAL EQUALIZATION PROVISION INSERTED BY THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO. IS LIKE THE PROVISION USED BY THE INLAND STEEL CO. IN THIS PREVIOUS CASE "EXCEPT FOR THE OMISSION OF THE ADJECTIVE "FREIGHT" USED TO DEFINE THE NOUN "COST" IN TWO PLACES," IT ALSO IS TRUE THAT IT IS AN EXACT DUPLICATE OF THE ONE INSERTED BY THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO. IN THIS SAME PREVIOUS INVITATION AND WHICH IN A-75336 OF JUNE 1, 1936, WAS HELD TO BE UNRESPONSIVE. IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THE INLAND STEEL CO. SUBSEQUENTLY CLARIFIED ITS POSITION AND REMOVED ALL DOUBT AS TO THE RESPONSIVENESS OF ITS BID THAT IT WAS CONCLUDED IN A-75336 OF JULY 3, 1936, THAT ITS BID WAS PROPER FOR CONSIDERATION. THAT DECISION IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE DIFFERENT FACTS OF THE PRESENT CASE IN WHICH THE BIDDER GAVE AN UNEQUIVOCABLE NEGATIVE ANSWER TO THE ONLY CLAUSE IN THE INVITATION WITH WHICH THE LANGUAGE IN ITS UNAUTHORIZED RIDER MIGHT BE RECONCILED. FURTHERMORE, THE BIDDER IN THIS PRESENT CASE HAD BEEN FOREWARNED THAT ANY COLLATERAL OR ADDITIONAL OFFER TO EQUALIZE FREIGHT COSTS WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED.

AS PREVIOUSLY STATED, THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO. MADE AN AFFIRMATIVE AND RESPONSIVE OFFER TO EQUALIZE FREIGHT COSTS BY INSERTING THE WORD "YES" IN THE SPACE PROVIDED AFTER THE FOLLOWING CLAUSE OF THE INVITATION. WE WILL MAKE AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE TO EQUALIZE THE MAXIMUM, OR GREATEST SAVING OR DEDUCTION OBTAINED BY THE USE OF GOVERNMENT LAND GRANT FREIGHT RATES FROM THE SHIPPING POINT OF ANY BIDDER. YES -----. NO -----.

YOUR ANALYSIS OF THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO.'S BID FROM THE STANDPOINT OF EQUALIZATION OF LAND-GRANT SAVINGS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS PROVISION INDICATES THAT THE TOTAL EQUALIZATION AMOUNTS TO $43.16, AND THAT THE BETHLEHEM STEEL CO.'S BID IS NOT LOW. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR QUESTION AS TO WHETHER PERFORMANCE ON THE PART OF THE CONTRACTOR SHOULD BE REQUIRED ON THE BASIS THAT AWARD AS MADE IS A PROPER INTERPRETATION OF THE OFFER MUST BE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

YOU FURTHER INQUIRE AS TO WHETHER, IN THE EVENT OF A NEGATIVE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION, THE APPROPRIATION 21-4671001 (EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORKS, TRANSFER TO WAR, ACT FEBRUARY 9, 1937), 1937 ALREADY ENCUMBERED WITH THE AWARD, IS AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF AN AWARD TO THE OTHERWISE LOW BIDDER. THE OFFERS MADE IN RESPONSE TO THIS INVITATION WERE TO EXPIRE UNLESS ACCEPTED WITHIN 30 TO 60 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THE OPENING OF BIDS, WHICH TOOK PLACE JUNE 11, 1937, AND APPARENTLY HAD EXPIRED PRIOR TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 18, 1937, REQUESTING DECISION.

IF YOU SHALL FIND THAT THE OFFER OF THE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE BIDDER RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION HAS BEEN KEPT OPEN AND THAT IN THE LIGHT OF PRESENT PRICES IT WOULD BE IN THE PUBLIC INTERESTS TO MAKE AN AWARD THEREON THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO PAYMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION DESIGNATED.