B-127995, JUL. 30, 1956

B-127995: Jul 30, 1956

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TO WINPOWER MANUFACTURING COMPANY: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16. IT WAS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT YOUR BID WAS THE LOWEST RECEIVED BY $776.10 AND THAT IT SEEMS TO YOU THAT IT IS AN UNNECESSARY WASTE OF THE TAXPAYER'S MONEY FOR ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICE DURING PEACE TIME TO PAY 26 1/2 PERCENT MORE PER UNIT FOR ONLY A 15 DAY LONGER DELIVERY THAN THE MAXIMUM REQUESTED IN THE INVITATION. IT APPEARS THAT BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING 10 GENERATORS FOR USE BY THE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE AT REDDING. BIDDERS WERE EXPRESSLY ADVISED ON PAGE 4 OF THE INVITATION THAT DELIVERY WAS REQUIRED WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER NOTIFICATION OF AWARD. THAT IF PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS COULD NOT MEET THE REQUIRED DELIVERY DATE THEY WERE REQUESTED TO STATE IN THE SPACE PROVIDED THE MAXIMUM TIME FOR DELIVERY.

B-127995, JUL. 30, 1956

TO WINPOWER MANUFACTURING COMPANY:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16, 1956, WITH ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT FOR GENERATORS PURSUANT TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 1412-R5-56-101 ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOREST SERVICE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.

IT WAS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT YOUR BID WAS THE LOWEST RECEIVED BY $776.10 AND THAT IT SEEMS TO YOU THAT IT IS AN UNNECESSARY WASTE OF THE TAXPAYER'S MONEY FOR ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICE DURING PEACE TIME TO PAY 26 1/2 PERCENT MORE PER UNIT FOR ONLY A 15 DAY LONGER DELIVERY THAN THE MAXIMUM REQUESTED IN THE INVITATION.

IN RESPONSE TO OUR REQUEST, THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE HAS FURNISHED A COPY OF THE INVITATION AND A REPORT OF THE FACTS IN THE MATTER OF THE PROCUREMENT. IT APPEARS THAT BIDS WERE REQUESTED FOR FURNISHING 10 GENERATORS FOR USE BY THE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE AT REDDING, CALIFORNIA, AND FOR FURNISHING 3 GENERATORS FOR THE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE WAREHOUSE, SUSANVILLE, CALIFORNIA. BIDDERS WERE EXPRESSLY ADVISED ON PAGE 4 OF THE INVITATION THAT DELIVERY WAS REQUIRED WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER NOTIFICATION OF AWARD; THAT IF PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS COULD NOT MEET THE REQUIRED DELIVERY DATE THEY WERE REQUESTED TO STATE IN THE SPACE PROVIDED THE MAXIMUM TIME FOR DELIVERY; THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH INFORMATION THE GOVERNMENT WOULD PRESUME THE BIDDER WOULD MEET THE DELIVERY TIME OF 30 DAYS; AND THAT "IF NO CONTRACTOR CAN MEET THE ABOVE DELIVERY REQUIREMENTS, THE GOVERNMENT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MAKE AWARD AS WILL BEST SUIT ITS PURPOSE--- DELIVERY TIME AND PRICE CONSIDERED.'

THE DEPARTMENT REPORTS THAT 16 BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION AND THAT AWARD OF CONTRACT WAS MADE TO THE CONTRACTOR'S MACHINERY COMPANY IN THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $3,700.45 LESS A DISCOUNT OF 1 PERCENT FOR PAYMENT WITHIN 10 DAYS. THE DEPARTMENT REPORTS ALSO THAT A BID OF $2,924.25 LESS A DISCOUNT OF 1/2 OF 1 PERCENT FOR PAYMENT WITHIN 20 DAYS WAS RECEIVED FROM YOU BUT YOUR BID WAS REJECTED BECAUSE YOU OFFERED DELIVERY WITHIN 45 DAYS. THE DEPARTMENT EXPLAINS THE BASIS FOR ITS ACTION AS FOLLOWS:

"THE FOREST SERVICE PURCHASED THESE GENERATORS FOR USE IN FOREST FIRE- FIGHTING CAMPS. THIS TYPE OF EQUIPMENT MUST BE READY FOR INSTANT USE AND AFTER DELIVERY IT WAS NECESSARY TO BUILD STORAGE AND SHIPPING BOXES FOR IT, WHICH WOULD PERMIT TRANSPORTATION BY TRUCK, PACK HORSES OR PARACHUTE TO THE FIRE CAMPS.

"DELIVERY BY THE END OF MAY OR VERY EARLY IN JUNE WAS, THEREFORE, OF GREAT IMPORTANCE. AS OF JUNE 5, THE REGIONAL FORESTER REPORTS THAT SOME 100 FOREST FIRES HAVE ALREADY OCCURRED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, WHICH SUBSTANTIATES THE DELIVERY DATE AS A FACTUAL AND NOT AN ARBITRARY REQUIREMENT.

"THE FOREST SERVICE HAD PLANNED TO REQUEST BIDS ON THIS EQUIPMENT MUCH EARLIER IN THE SPRING. PREVIOUS BIDS FOR SIMILAR FIRE CAMP GENERATORS HAVE SPECIFIED A WEIGHT OF NOT TO EXCEED 125 POUNDS. THIS SPECIFICATION WAS QUITE RESTRICTIVE AND THE FOREST SERVICE SPENT CONSIDERABLE TIME THIS SPRING CONDUCTING TESTS TO SEE JUST HOW MUCH WEIGHT COULD BE ALLOWED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS AND STILL HAVE A GENERATOR PORTABLE ENOUGH TO PARACHUTE INTO CAMPS WITHOUT DAMAGE. AS A RESULT OF THE TESTS, THE WEIGHT SPECIFICATION WAS RAISED FROM 125 POUNDS TO 150 POUNDS, WHICH DID ALLOW MUCH WIDER COMPETITION. HOWEVER, THE TESTS WERE NOT CONCLUDED UNTIL EARLY IN APRIL WHICH DELAYED ISSUANCE OF THE BID UNTIL THE AMENDED SPECIFICATIONS WERE PREPARED. BECAUSE OF THIS DELAY IN ISSUING THE BIDS, TIME WAS OF THE ESSENCE AND THE REQUIRED DELIVERY WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER AWARD WAS THE LATEST WHICH COULD BE ACCEPTED AND STILL HAVE THE EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE AND READY TO USE WHEN NEEDED. EVEN A DELAY OF 15 DAYS WITH THE FIRE SEASON UNDER WAY COULD BE DISASTROUS. FAILURE TO CONTROL A SINGLE FIRE BECAUSE OF INADEQUATE OR LACK OF EQUIPMENT COULD RESULT IN INCREASED COSTS TO THE GOVERNMENT MANY TIMES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ACCEPTED AND REJECTED BIDS.'

THE INVITATION FOR BIDS IN THIS CASE EXPRESSLY PROVIDED THAT DELIVERY OF THE GENERATORS WAS REQUIRED WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER NOTIFICATION OF AWARD. IT WAS ONLY IN THE EVENT NO CONTRACTOR COULD MEET THIS DELIVERY REQUIREMENT AND OFFERED A LONGER DELIVERY TIME THAT THE GOVERNMENT RESERVED THE RIGHT TO CONSIDER BIDS OFFERING DELIVERY TIME IN EXCESS OF 30 DAYS. AS YOU DID NOT OFFER DELIVERY WITHIN 30 DAYS YOUR BID UNDER THE PLAIN TERMS OF THE INVITATION WAS NOT FOR CONSIDERATION UNLESS NO BIDS WERE RECEIVED OFFERING DELIVERY WITHIN THAT TIME. THEREFORE AWARD WAS MADE TO THE LOWEST BIDDER OFFERING DELIVERY WITHIN 30 DAYS AS REQUIRED. THIS ACTION WAS NOT ONLY PROPER BECAUSE IT WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INVITATION BUT WAS REQUIRED IN FAIRNESS TO OTHER BIDDERS AND IN THE INTEREST OF MAINTENANCE OF THE INTEGRITY OF THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM.

ACCORDINGLY AND SINCE THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN A SUBSTANTIAL BASIS FOR REQUIRING DELIVERY WITHIN 30 DAYS, WE WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED IN QUESTIONING THE AWARD AS MADE.