B-124544, JUL. 13, 1955

B-124544: Jul 13, 1955

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TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JULY 1. THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH WAS INCLUDED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS: "IMPORTANT. THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT YOUR PROCUREMENT BRANCH HAS ASCERTAINED THAT ASSOCIATED REPORTERS IS A NEW CONCERN BUT ONE WHICH IS IN A POSITION TO RENDER SATISFACTORY SERVICE. THE FIRM HAS STATED IT WILL FURNISH A PERFORMANCE BOND WHICH WAS NOT A REQUIREMENT IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS. THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HERE INVOLVED ARE SIMILAR IN ALL MATERIAL RESPECTS TO THOSE CONSIDERED IN OUR DECISION OF JUNE 14. IN THAT DECISION IT WAS STATED THAT SINCE THE PROVISION IN THE INVITATION REQUIRING BIDDERS TO FURNISH CERTAIN INFORMATION CONCERNING THEIR QUALIFICATIONS WAS INSERTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT AND IN NO WAY AFFECTED THE RIGHTS OF COMPETING BIDDERS.

B-124544, JUL. 13, 1955

TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JULY 1, 1955, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE BID OF THE ASSOCIATED REPORTERS MAY BE CONSIDERED IN AWARDING A CONTRACT FOR STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED TO THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1956.

IT APPEARS THAT BY INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 1478, DATED JUNE 3, 1955, THE PROCUREMENT BRANCH OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING REPORTING SERVICES AS REQUIRED AND ORDERED FOR THE PERIOD BEGINNING JULY 1, 1955, AND ENDING JUNE 30, 1956. THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH WAS INCLUDED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS:

"IMPORTANT--- EACH PROPOSAL MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A STATEMENT OF FACTS IN DETAIL OF THE BUSINESS AND TECHNICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE BIDDER AVAILABLE FOR PERFORMING THE WORK REQUIRED, INCLUDING SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF EXPERIENCE IN THIS CLASS OF WORK, BUSINESS RELIABILITY AND MEANS FOR PROPERLY PERFORMING THE WORK.'

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE ASSOCIATED REPORTERS SUBMITTED THE LOW BID BUT FAILED TO SUBMIT WITH THEIR BID INFORMATION CONCERNING THEIR BUSINESS AND TECHNICAL ORGANIZATION AND EVIDENCE OF THEIR EXPERIENCE AS REQUIRED BY THE PARAGRAPH OF THE INVITATION QUOTED ABOVE. THE NEXT LOW BIDDER, ALDERSON REPORTING COMPANY, HAS PROTESTED THE CONSIDERATION OF THE BID SUBMITTED BY THE ASSOCIATED REPORTERS ON THE BASIS THAT NO STATEMENT AS TO THE ORGANIZATION OF ASSOCIATED REPORTERS ACCOMPANIED THE BID AS REQUIRED BY THE INVITATION, AND THAT TO THE BEST OF THEIR KNOWLEDGE NO SUCH ORGANIZATION EXISTS. THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT YOUR PROCUREMENT BRANCH HAS ASCERTAINED THAT ASSOCIATED REPORTERS IS A NEW CONCERN BUT ONE WHICH IS IN A POSITION TO RENDER SATISFACTORY SERVICE. IN ADDITION, THE FIRM HAS STATED IT WILL FURNISH A PERFORMANCE BOND WHICH WAS NOT A REQUIREMENT IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS.

THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HERE INVOLVED ARE SIMILAR IN ALL MATERIAL RESPECTS TO THOSE CONSIDERED IN OUR DECISION OF JUNE 14, 1945, B-50257, TO THE CHAIRMAN, SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION. IN THAT DECISION IT WAS STATED THAT SINCE THE PROVISION IN THE INVITATION REQUIRING BIDDERS TO FURNISH CERTAIN INFORMATION CONCERNING THEIR QUALIFICATIONS WAS INSERTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT AND IN NO WAY AFFECTED THE RIGHTS OF COMPETING BIDDERS, STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISION MIGHT BE WAIVED BY THE COMMISSION AS ITS INTERESTS MIGHT REQUIRE. ACCORDINGLY, IT WAS HELD IN THAT CASE THAT THE BIDS OF THE ALDERSON REPORTING COMPANY AND HOWARD B. SMITH COULD BE CONSIDERED EVEN THOUGH THEY DID NOT FURNISH A STATEMENT OF THEIR QUALIFICATIONS PRIOR TO THE TIME SCHEDULED FOR THE OPENING OF BIDS. WHAT WAS SAID THERE IS EQUALLY FOR APPLICATION HERE AND, THEREFORE, THE BID OF ASSOCIATED REPORTERS MAY BE CONSIDERED IN MAKING AWARD UNDER THE INVITATION INVOLVED.