B-128396, JUN. 29, 1956

B-128396: Jun 29, 1956

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 22. IT IS REPORTED BY THE OFFICER WHO OPENED THE BIDS THAT THE BRANDON DIXON BID WAS THE FIRST OPENED. THAT THE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE TWO FIGURES WAS IMMEDIATELY NOTICED. THAT SINCE THE PRESIDENT OF THE CORPORATION WAS PRESENT AT THE BID OPENING. HE WAS REQUESTED. THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE CORPORATION VERBALLY ALLEGED THAT $165 WAS THE AMOUNT INTENDED FOR THAT ITEM AND THAT IN MAKING THE CORRECTION ON PAGE 1. IT IS ALSO STATED THAT THE NEXT AND FINAL BID TO BE OPENED WAS THAT OF THE OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY. WHOSE BID ON ITEM 1 WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $173.75 PER MONTH. WHO WAS PRESENT AT BRANDON-DIXON ELEVATOR SERVICE. WHILE IT APPEARS THAT THE SCHEDULE SPACE ON PAGE 1 WAS NOT INTENDED TO BE USED FOR THE INSERTION OF THE BID PRICE.

B-128396, JUN. 29, 1956

TO HONORABLE H. V. HIGLEY, ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 22, 1956, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER A BID OF BRANDON-DIXON ELEVATOR SERVICE, INC., OPENED ON JUNE 5, 1956, MAY BE CORRECTED BY REASON OF ERROR ALLEGED BY THE BIDDER.

ON MAY 8, 1956, THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, SAGINAW, MICHIGAN, REQUESTED BIDS UNDER INVITATION NO. 57-5, FOR THE FURNISHING OF ELEVATOR INSPECTION AND ADJUSTMENT SERVICES ON THREE ELEVATORS AND ONE DUMBWAITER DURING THE PERIOD BEGINNING JULY 1, 1956, AND ENDING JUNE 30, 1957. ITEMIZED IN THE DETAILED SCHEDULE APPEARING ON PAGES 2 AND 3 OF THE CONTINUATION SHEET, ITEM 1 COVERED REGULAR SERVICE AND ITEM 2 COVERED EMERGENCY CALL BACK SERVICE. A BID DATED JUNE 5, 1956, SUBMITTED BY BRANDON-DIXON ELEVATOR SERVICE, INC., CONTAINED IN THE SPACE OPPOSITE ITEM 1 OF THE DETAILED SCHEDULE A PRICE PER MONTH OF $175. HOWEVER, IN THE SPACE HEADED "SCHEDULE" ON PAGE 1 OF THE INVITATION, OPPOSITE THE WORDS "ELEVATOR INSPECTION AND ADJUSTMENT SERVICE," A TYPED FIGURE OF $175 PER MONTH HAD BEEN DELETED AND $165 ENTERED AND INITIALED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE CORPORATION, WHO HAD ALSO SIGNED THE BID.

IT IS REPORTED BY THE OFFICER WHO OPENED THE BIDS THAT THE BRANDON DIXON BID WAS THE FIRST OPENED; THAT THE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE TWO FIGURES WAS IMMEDIATELY NOTICED; THAT SINCE THE PRESIDENT OF THE CORPORATION WAS PRESENT AT THE BID OPENING, HE WAS REQUESTED, PRIOR TO OPENING ANY OTHER BIDS, TO CLARIFY THE CORPORATION'S BID; AND THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE CORPORATION VERBALLY ALLEGED THAT $165 WAS THE AMOUNT INTENDED FOR THAT ITEM AND THAT IN MAKING THE CORRECTION ON PAGE 1, HE NEGLECTED TO AMEND THE BID ON PAGE 3 TO REFLECT SUCH CORRECTION. IT IS ALSO STATED THAT THE NEXT AND FINAL BID TO BE OPENED WAS THAT OF THE OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY, WHOSE BID ON ITEM 1 WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $173.75 PER MONTH, AND THAT A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COMPANY, WHO WAS PRESENT AT BRANDON-DIXON ELEVATOR SERVICE, INC., TO CORRECT ITS BID ON ITEM 1. BY LETTER DATED JUNE 6, 1956, THE OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY CONFIRMED ITS VERBAL PROTEST.

IN A LETTER DATED JUNE 15, 1956, THE PRESIDENT OF BRANDON-DIXON ELEVATOR SERVICE, INC., STATED, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"AFTER PREPARING OUR ORIGINAL PRICE WE CHECKED OUR TOTAL COST FOR THE PAST YEAR AND FOUND THROUGH EXCELLENT COOPERATION FROM GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES OF YOUR FACILITY, OUR INCREASED EXPERIENCE ON THIS EQUIPMENT; ALSO THE EXCELLENT COOPERATION WE RECEIVE FROM THE ORIGINAL BUILDERS OF THESE ELEVATORS WE COULD SAVE THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL SOME ADDITIONAL MONEY.'

WHILE IT APPEARS THAT THE SCHEDULE SPACE ON PAGE 1 WAS NOT INTENDED TO BE USED FOR THE INSERTION OF THE BID PRICE, IT IS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT THE FIGURE INSERTED THERE WAS INTENDED AS A BID. SINCE THE AMOUNT THERE INSERTED DID NOT AGREE WITH THE AMOUNT INSERTED ON THE SUBSEQUENT PAGE, THE BID WAS ON ITS FACE AMBIGUOUS, AND WE THINK THAT THE BIDDER'S REPRESENTATIVE PRESENT AT THE TIME WAS PROPERLY ALLOWED TO CLEAR UP THE AMBIGUITY. SINCE NO OTHER RESPONSIVE BID HAD THEN BEEN OPENED, WE CANNOT SEE THAT ACCEPTANCE OF THE EXPLANATION OFFERED COULD BE CONSIDERED EITHER AS GIVING THAT BIDDER ANY ADVANTAGE OR AS PREJUDICING ANY LEGITIMATE INTEREST OF ANY OTHER BIDDER. YOU ARE ACCORDINGLY ADVISED THAT THE BID OF BRANDON-DIXON ELEVATOR SERVICE, INC., AS EXPLAINED BY THE BIDDER AT THE OPENING, MAY PROPERLY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD OF A CONTRACT FOR THE SERVICE DESCRIBED.