B-127475, MAY 28, 1956

B-127475: May 28, 1956

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TO COVINGTON AND BURLING: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 2. THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT REPORTS THAT THE DECISION TO REJECT ALL BIDS WAS BASED ON THE FACT THAT THERE WERE ERRORS IN THE ADVERTISEMENT AND THAT THERE WAS MISUNDERSTANDINGS BY THE BIDDERS AS REGARD TO REQUIREMENTS. YOU CONTEND THAT DECISION TO REJECT ALL BIDS WAS UNJUST BECAUSE VALENCIA BAXT EXPRESS. DETERMINATION OF THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN IN EACH INSTANCE IS A PROPER FUNCTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS OF THE PURCHASING AGENCY AND IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR PROOF OF ABUSE OF THEIR DISCRETIONARY POWERS IN THAT REGARD THIS OFFICE WILL NOT UNDERTAKE TO INTERFERE WITH SUCH ACTION. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE BID OF VALENCIA BAXT ITSELF WAS SUBMITTED ON THE BASIS OF SUPPLYING AN 800 CUBIC FOOT TRUCK ON EACH SECTION OF THE ROUTE WHEREAS MORE THAN ONE TRUCK WOULD BE REQUIRED ON STATES MAIL DAYS.

B-127475, MAY 28, 1956

TO COVINGTON AND BURLING:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 2, 1956, PROTESTING ON BEHALF OF VALENCIA BAXT EXPRESS, INC., THE REJECTION BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT OF ALL BIDS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR STAR ROUTE SERVICE BETWEEN CERTAIN POINTS WITHIN PUERTO RICO.

THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT REPORTS THAT THE DECISION TO REJECT ALL BIDS WAS BASED ON THE FACT THAT THERE WERE ERRORS IN THE ADVERTISEMENT AND THAT THERE WAS MISUNDERSTANDINGS BY THE BIDDERS AS REGARD TO REQUIREMENTS. YOU CONTEND THAT DECISION TO REJECT ALL BIDS WAS UNJUST BECAUSE VALENCIA BAXT EXPRESS, THE LOW BIDDER, CONSIDERED THE ADVERTISEMENT CAREFULLY, PREPARED ITS BID WITH GREAT CARE, AND THE DISCLOSURE OF THE ORIGINAL BID PRICES NATURALLY WOULD WORK TO VALENCIA BAXT'S DISADVANTAGE UPON READVERTISEMENT.

AN INVITATION TO BID ON GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENTS DOES NOT IMPOSE UPON THE GOVERNMENT ANY BINDING OBLIGATION TO ACCEPT ANY OF THE BIDS RECEIVED AND IT HAS CONSISTENTLY BEEN HELD THAT, IRRESPECTIVE OF ANY EXPRESS RESERVATION BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE RIGHT TO REJECT ANY AND ALL BIDS, A REQUEST FOR BIDS DOES NOT IMPORT ANY OBLIGATION TO ACCEPT ANY OF THE BIDS RECEIVED, INCLUDING THE LOWEST CORRECT BID. 17 COMP. GEN. 554, 26 ID. 9; PERKINS V. LUKENS STEEL COMPANY, 310 U.S. 113; O BRIEN V. CARNEY, 6 F.SUPP. 761, AND COLORADO PAVING COMPANY V. MURPHY, 78 F. 28. DETERMINATION OF THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN IN EACH INSTANCE IS A PROPER FUNCTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS OF THE PURCHASING AGENCY AND IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR PROOF OF ABUSE OF THEIR DISCRETIONARY POWERS IN THAT REGARD THIS OFFICE WILL NOT UNDERTAKE TO INTERFERE WITH SUCH ACTION.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE BID OF VALENCIA BAXT ITSELF WAS SUBMITTED ON THE BASIS OF SUPPLYING AN 800 CUBIC FOOT TRUCK ON EACH SECTION OF THE ROUTE WHEREAS MORE THAN ONE TRUCK WOULD BE REQUIRED ON STATES MAIL DAYS. FURTHERMORE, IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT THE SCHEDULES OF AUTHORIZED TRAVEL TIME BETWEEN POINTS SET FORTH IN THE INVITATION WERE NOT REALISTIC, AND THAT YOUR CLIENT WOULD EXPECT ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR EXCESS TIME WHICH WOULD INEVITABLY BE REQUIRED. THE INVITATION ALSO FAILED TO PROVIDE FOR SERVICE TO AT LEAST ONE IMPORTANT POST OFFICE WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED.

IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE REJECTION OF ALL BIDS WAS NOT ONLY UNOBJECTIONABLE BUT, IN VIEW OF THE MISUNDERSTANDINGS BY THE BIDDERS AS TO THE REQUIREMENTS AND THE ERROR FOUND TO EXIST IN THE ADVERTISEMENT, WAS THE ONLY PROPER ACTION THAT COULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN. SINCE ANY READVERTISEMENT WILL BE ON SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT CONDITIONS, THE DISCLOSURE OF BIDS ON THE PRIOR INVITATION DOES NOT SEEM TO BE SERIOUSLY PREJUDICIAL.

YOU ARE ACCORDINGLY ADVISED THAT, ON THE RECORD BEFORE US, WE FIND NO BASIS TO QUESTION THE ACTION TAKEN.