B-120431, FEBRUARY 2, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 364

B-120431: Feb 2, 1955

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1955: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 8. IT WAS HELD ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS REPORTED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE NOT UNDULY RESTRICTIVE. IT APPEARS THAT AT THE TIME THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS ISSUED IT HAD BEEN DETERMINED THAT ONLY THE DETROIT GEAR AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE. THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE SO DRAWN THAT POTENTIAL BIDDERS WERE NOT AWARE OF THAT FACT. A PART HAVING PARTICULAR FUNCTIONAL FEATURES IS DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY AND THERE IS SUCH A VARIANCE OF SOUND OPINION AS TO THE RELATIVE MERITS OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF THE PART. THE MATTER OF REQUIRING A PARTICULAR TRANSMISSION AS BEST MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE GIVEN SPECIAL CONSIDERATION IN ALL CASES TO INSURE THAT THE REQUIREMENT REFLECTS THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTUAL NEEDS AND IS NOT DUE TO PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

B-120431, FEBRUARY 2, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 364

CONTRACTS - SPECIFICATIONS - RESTRICTIVE CONDITIONS BID INVITATIONS AND SPECIFICATIONS FOR EQUIPMENT WHICH REQUIRES A PART HAVING A PARTICULAR FUNCTIONAL FEATURE OVER WHICH SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCES OF OPINION EXIST AS TO ITS MERITS SHOULD BE CAREFULLY DRAWN TO REFLECT THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND TO ADVISE BIDDERS OF THE PARTICULAR FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS TO BE MET.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, FEBRUARY 2, 1955:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 8, 1954, FURNISHING THE REPORT REQUESTED BY THIS OFFICE WITH RESPECT TO THE PROTEST OF THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY AGAINST THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT MADE UNDER ITEM 6 OF INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 4G-43020-R-5-6-54.

WHILE IN LETTER OF TODAY TO THE PROTESTING BIDDER, COPY HEREWITH, IT WAS HELD ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS REPORTED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE NOT UNDULY RESTRICTIVE, IT APPEARS THAT AT THE TIME THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS ISSUED IT HAD BEEN DETERMINED THAT ONLY THE DETROIT GEAR AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE. NEVERTHELESS, THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE SO DRAWN THAT POTENTIAL BIDDERS WERE NOT AWARE OF THAT FACT. IN A CASE WHERE, AS HERE, A PART HAVING PARTICULAR FUNCTIONAL FEATURES IS DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY AND THERE IS SUCH A VARIANCE OF SOUND OPINION AS TO THE RELATIVE MERITS OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF THE PART, THE SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD BE SO DRAWN AS TO ADVISE BIDDERS OF THE PARTICULAR FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS TO BE MET.

FURTHERMORE, IN VIEW OF THE SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCES OF OPINION WHICH EXIST EVEN AMONG EXPERTS AS TO THE RELATIVE MERITS OF THE VARIOUS TYPES OF AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS, THE MATTER OF REQUIRING A PARTICULAR TRANSMISSION AS BEST MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE GIVEN SPECIAL CONSIDERATION IN ALL CASES TO INSURE THAT THE REQUIREMENT REFLECTS THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTUAL NEEDS AND IS NOT DUE TO PERSONAL PREFERENCE, IN ORDER TO AVOID A SITUATION SUCH AS WAS CONSIDERED IN 13 COMP. GEN. 284.