B-127605, APR. 27, 1956

B-127605: Apr 27, 1956

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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 13. 676 FOR THE SECOND BARGE WERE THE HIGHEST RECEIVED FOR THOSE ITEMS. THE DISPOSAL AGENCY REJECTED ALL BIDS FOR THE BARGES ON THE GROUNDS THAT THEY WERE INADEQUATE. THE BARGES WERE READVERTISED AND SUBSEQUENTLY SOLD AT A HIGHER PRICE TO SOMEONE ELSE. YOU CONTEND THAT THE DECISION TO READVERTISE WAS UNJUST BECAUSE THE AMOUNTS BID BY YOU REPRESENTED FAIR PRICES FOR THE BARGES. NO MINIMUM PRICE WAS STIPULATED IN THE INVITATION. THE PUBLIC INTEREST IS FIRST FOR CONSIDERATION IN MAKING AN AWARD. IT WAS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST THAT THE BARGES BRING AS HIGH A PRICE AS POSSIBLE. HAVING FORMED THE CONCLUSION THAT THE BIDS SUBMITTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE FIRST SALE WERE INADEQUATE.

B-127605, APR. 27, 1956

TO WM. M. COWGUR AND CO., INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 13, 1956, TRANSMITTING A COPY OF YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 11, 1956, ADDRESSED TO THE PROPERTY DISPOSAL OFFICER, NEW ORLEANS ARMY TERMINAL, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, WHEREIN YOU PROTEST THE DISPOSAL AGENCY'S FAILURE TO AWARD ITEMS NOS. 2 AND 3 UNDER INVITATION NO. 16-049-3-56-4 TO YOU, AS THE HIGH BIDDER. YOU REQUEST THAT CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO YOUR PROTEST BY THIS OFFICE.

IT APPEARS THAT THE INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS, TO BE OPENED APRIL 10, 1956, FOR THE SALE, AMONG OTHER ITEMS OF SURPLUS GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, OF TWO DECK CARGO BARGES, BC 1898 AND BC 1910, DESIGNATED AS ITEMS 2 AND 3, RESPECTIVELY, AND THAT YOUR BIDS OF $12,676 FOR THE FIRST BARGE AND $13,676 FOR THE SECOND BARGE WERE THE HIGHEST RECEIVED FOR THOSE ITEMS. HOWEVER, THE DISPOSAL AGENCY REJECTED ALL BIDS FOR THE BARGES ON THE GROUNDS THAT THEY WERE INADEQUATE, AND THE BARGES WERE READVERTISED AND SUBSEQUENTLY SOLD AT A HIGHER PRICE TO SOMEONE ELSE.

YOU CONTEND THAT THE DECISION TO READVERTISE WAS UNJUST BECAUSE THE AMOUNTS BID BY YOU REPRESENTED FAIR PRICES FOR THE BARGES, NO MINIMUM PRICE WAS STIPULATED IN THE INVITATION, AND THE DISCLOSURE OF THE ORIGINAL BID PRICES TO THE PUBLIC NATURALLY WORKED TO YOUR DISADVANTAGE UPON READVERTISING THE SALE.

IT LONG HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED THAT IN CONNECTION WITH THE AWARDING OF PUBLIC CONTRACTS FOR SALE, OR OTHERWISE, NO BIDDER ACQUIRES AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO AN AWARD SIMPLY BECAUSE HE HAS SUBMITTED THE HIGHEST OR LOWEST BID, AS THE CASE MAY BE. RATHER, THE PUBLIC INTEREST IS FIRST FOR CONSIDERATION IN MAKING AN AWARD. SEE O-BRIEN V. CARNEY, 6 F.SUPP. 761; 26 COMP. GEN. 49; 17 COMP. GEN. 554, 559. MANIFESTLY, IT WAS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST THAT THE BARGES BRING AS HIGH A PRICE AS POSSIBLE, CONSISTENT WITH FAIR DEALING; AND THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GOVERNMENT CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THEIR SALE, HAVING FORMED THE CONCLUSION THAT THE BIDS SUBMITTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE FIRST SALE WERE INADEQUATE, HAD A DUTY TO REJECT ALL BIDS AND READVERTISE. EJECT ALL BIDS AND READVERTISE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING PRINCIPLES, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING OF BAD FAITH ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES CONCERNED, WE WOULD NOT BE WARRANTED IN QUESTIONING THE TRANSACTION.