B-114927, JUN 3, 1953

B-114927: Jun 3, 1953

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PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED MAY 6. FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED. HOLLYWOOD NEVERTHELESS USED A CHEAPER METHOD NOT CONFORMING TO SPECIFICATIONS AND WHICH DIXIE COULD HAVE USED. AFTER AN EXAMINATION OF THE PLANT AND FACILITIES OF HOLLYWOOD AND AFTER A DISCUSSION WITH THE OWNER OF HOLLYWOOD AS TO WHAT WAS REQUIRED UNDER THE PROPOSED CONTRACT. A COPY OF THE PRIOR SPECIFICATIONS WAS NOT SUBMITTED WITH THE LETTER OF APRIL 20 TRANSMITTING THE PROTEST OF DIXIE TO THIS OFFICE BUT AN EXAMINATION OF THE SPECIFICATIONS ACCOMPANYING THE INVITATION HERE INVOLVED DISCLOSES THAT THE LANGUAGE EMPLOYED THEREIN IS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS WITH REGARD TO THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE USE OF UNBROKEN LAMINATED SHEETS.

B-114927, JUN 3, 1953

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED MAY 6, 1953, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, TRANSMITTING A PROTEST BY THE DIXIE MATTRESS COMPANY AGAINST THE PROPOSED AWARD BY THE AIR PROVING GROUND COMMAND, EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA, OF A CONTRACT TO HOLLYWOOD MATTRESS COMPANY UNDER INVITATION NO. IFB 08-603- 53-130 FOR THE RENOVATION OF 1,200 MATTRESSES. THE SAID LETTER TRANSMITTED A REPORT FROM THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DATED APRIL 20, 1953, COPIES OF CORRESPONDENCE IN REGARD TO THE MATTER, COPIES OF BIDS OF THE TWO COMPANIES HERE INVOLVED AND AN ABSTRACT OF BIDS.

IT APPEARS THAT IN RESPONSE TO AN INVITATION ISSUED ON MARCH 3, 1953, FOR RENOVATING 1,200 MATTRESSES, FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED, THE LOWEST BID BEING THAT SUBMITTED BY HOLLYWOOD IN THE AMOUNT OF $6.50 PER MATTRESS AND THE SECOND LOWEST BID BEING THAT SUBMITTED BY DIXIE IN THE AMOUNT OF $7.60 PER MATTRESS. BY LETTER DATED APRIL 7, 1953, DIXIE PROTESTED THE PROPOSED AWARD TO HOLLYWOOD MAINLY FOR THE REASON THAT HOLLYWOOD DEFINITELY HAD FAILED TO FOLLOW SPECIFICATIONS ON A PRIOR CONTRACT (UNIDENTIFIED BY NUMBER) SIMILAR TO THE CONTRACT TO BE AWARDED; THAT AN AWARD TO HOLLYWOOD WOULD INDICATE FAVORITISM; AND THAT BY ACCEPTING HOLLYWOOD'S INFERIOR WORK IT WOULD BE UNFAIR TO OTHER BIDDERS. ALTHOUGH DIXIE DID NOT SET OUT IN ITS LETTER OF APRIL 7 IN WHAT MANNER HOLLYWOOD FAILED TO FOLLOW SPECIFICATIONS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF A PRIOR CONTRACT, IT HAS STATED IN A SUBSEQUENT LETTER DATED MAY 11, 1953, SUBMITTED DIRECT TO THIS OFFICE, THAT, WHILE THE CONTRACT REQUIRED COTTON TO BE PLACED IN THE MATTRESSES IN UNBROKEN LAMINATED BATTS, HOLLYWOOD NEVERTHELESS USED A CHEAPER METHOD NOT CONFORMING TO SPECIFICATIONS AND WHICH DIXIE COULD HAVE USED, IF PERMITTED TO DO SO, AT A COST OF $1.25 PER MATTRESS LESS THAN IT BID. ALSO, IT APPEARS FROM A REPORT RENDERED BY MR. W. F. HOLLEY, PROCUREMENT SUPERINTENDENT, EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, DATED APRIL 2, 1953, AFTER AN EXAMINATION OF THE PLANT AND FACILITIES OF HOLLYWOOD AND AFTER A DISCUSSION WITH THE OWNER OF HOLLYWOOD AS TO WHAT WAS REQUIRED UNDER THE PROPOSED CONTRACT, THAT HOLLYWOOD HAD USED ONLY 17 TUFTS ON EACH MATTRESS INSTEAD OF 23 TUFTS AND THAT IT HAD USED THE "BLOW-IN" PROCESS IN FILLING THE MATTRESSES INSTEAD OF PLACING THEREIN COTTON BATTS IN UNBROKEN LAMINATED SHEETS. A COPY OF THE PRIOR SPECIFICATIONS WAS NOT SUBMITTED WITH THE LETTER OF APRIL 20 TRANSMITTING THE PROTEST OF DIXIE TO THIS OFFICE BUT AN EXAMINATION OF THE SPECIFICATIONS ACCOMPANYING THE INVITATION HERE INVOLVED DISCLOSES THAT THE LANGUAGE EMPLOYED THEREIN IS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS WITH REGARD TO THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE USE OF UNBROKEN LAMINATED SHEETS. THE ONLY INFORMATION FURNISHED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REGARDING THE PROTESTING BIDDER'S ALLEGATIONS IS THAT CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 2(B) OF HIS LETTER OF APRIL 20, 1953, TO THE DIRECTOR OF PROCUREMENT AND ENGINEERING, HEADQUARTERS, USAF, WASHINGTON, AS FOLLOWS:

"DUE TO A MISINTERPRETATION OF TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS BY THE HOLLYWOOD MATTRESS COMPANY, ON A PREVIOUS CONTRACT, MINOR VARIATION FROM THESE SPECIFICATIONS WAS MADE. THIS VARIATION WAS ACCEPTED BY AIR FORCE INSPECTORS. SPECIFICATION HAVE BEEN AMENDED AND CLARIFIED TO PREVENT A REPETITION OF THIS OCCURRENCE AND OTHER STEPS TAKEN TO ASSURE RIGID ENFORCEMENT OF CONTRACT TERMS AND SPECIFICATIONS."

SINCE THE RECORD INDICATES THAT HOLLYWOOD NOW HAS A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE REQUIREMENTS AND SPECIFICATIONS INVOLVED IN THE PROPOSED CONTRACT, SINCE ITS PLANT AND FACILITIES ARE CONSIDERED ADEQUATE FOR THE PERFORMANCE THEREOF, AND SINCE IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT FURTHER DEVIATIONS FROM SPECIFIED REQUIREMENTS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICE INVOLVED, THE MATTERS PRESENTED BY DIXIE AFFORD NO LEGAL BASIS FOR DISREGARDING THE LOW BID OF HOLLYWOOD IN MAKING THE PRESENT AWARD, IF OTHERWISE PROPER.

HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE ALLEGATIONS AND STATEMENTS MADE BY DIXIE IN THE ENCLOSED LETTER OF MAY 11, 1953, PARTICULARLY PARAGRAPH 3, PAGE 3 THEREOF, THAT HOLLYWOOD FAILED TO COMPLY WITH SPECIFICATIONS IN PERFORMANCE OF THE PRIOR CONTRACT REFERRED TO, APPARENTLY WITHOUT ANY REDUCTION IN THE CONTRACT PRICE, IT IS REQUESTED THAT, WITH THE RETURN OF THE ENCLOSURE, THIS OFFICE BE FURNISHED WITH A COMPLETE REPORT IN THE MATTER, INCLUDING A REFERENCE TO THE PRIOR CONTRACT INVOLVED AND A STATEMENT AS TO THE NUMBER OF MATTRESSES THAT FAILED TO MEET CONTRACT SPECIFICATIONS. IF THE DEVIATIONS FROM THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE MATERIAL AND IF THERE WAS A REDUCTION IN THE CONTRACT PRICE ON ACCOUNT THEREOF, A COMPLETE CITATION TO THE VOUCHERS EVIDENCING THE ADJUSTMENT SHOULD BE FURNISHED, OR, IF THE CONTRACTOR WAS PAID THE FULL CONTRACT PRICE NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE WORK FAILED TO MEET SPECIFICATIONS, AN EXPLANATION SHOULD BE FURNISHED AS TO WHY NO REDUCTION WAS MADE.

A COPY OF THIS LETTER IS TODAY BEING TRANSMITTED TO THE CONTRACTING CONTRACT. OFFICER AT EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE IN ORDER NOT TO DELAY AWARD OF THE ..END :