B-128820, AUG. 15, 1956

B-128820: Aug 15, 1956

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED AUGUST 2. GARRETT TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN A BID SUBMITTED BY HIM IN RESPONSE TO AN INVITATION DATED JUNE 7. THE TWO OTHER BIDS FOR THESE PROJECTS WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $194. THE BUREAU'S ENGINEERING ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK INVOLVED WAS $170. AS TO WHICH THE PRINCIPAL ERROR IS ALLEGED. IT IS REPORTED THAT IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE BID OPENING. THE WIDE RANGE IN PRICES WAS NOTICED AND CALLED TO THE ATTENTION OF A MR. WHO WAS A SUB-BIDDER OF MR. HE WAS REQUESTED BY BUREAU OFFICIALS TO FURNISH WRITTEN VERIFICATION OF HIS BID. AT THAT TIME HE EXPRESSED THE OPINION THAT THE BIDS FOR THE FOUR ITEMS WERE APPARENTLY THOSE HE INTENDED TO MAKE.

B-128820, AUG. 15, 1956

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED AUGUST 2, 1956, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION YOUR DEPARTMENT SHOULD TAKE WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR ALLEGED BY WILLIAM H. GARRETT TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN A BID SUBMITTED BY HIM IN RESPONSE TO AN INVITATION DATED JUNE 7, 1956, FOR WORK INVOLVING IMPROVEMENTS TO SEWER AND WATER SYSTEMS AT FOUR LOCATIONS ON THE NAVAJO AND HOPI INDIAN RESERVATIONS IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA.

BY THE INVITATION IN QUESTION, THE BRANCH OF BUILDINGS AND UTILITIES, BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING ALL LABOR, EQUIPMENT, AND MATERIALS AND PERFORMING ALL WORK FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF SEWER AND WATER IMPROVEMENTS AT CHINLE, WINDOW ROCK, KEAMS CANYON, AND ORAIBI, ARIZONA, DESIGNATED AS PROJECTS NOS. BU 465-345 AND 358 AND BU 603-356 AND 359. IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, MR. GARRETT SUBMITTED A LOW BID OF $149,100.86, CONSISTING OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:

TABLE

DESCRIPTION AMOUNT (A) CHINLE, ARIZONA: IMPROVEMENTS

TO SEWER SYSTEM $ 48,792.88 (B) WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA: IMPROVEMENTS

TO SEWER SYSTEM 26,854.00 (C) KEAMS CANYON, ARIZONA: IMPROVEMENTS

TO SEWER AND WATER SYSTEM 27,854.00 (D) ORAIBI, ARIZONA: IMPROVEMENTS

TO SEWER AND WATER SYSTEMS 45,599.98

TOTAL BID AMOUNT $149,100.86

THE INVITATION STATED THAT AWARD WOULD BE MADE TO ONE BIDDER FOR ALL WORK ON THE BASIS OF TOTAL BID AMOUNT.

THE TWO OTHER BIDS FOR THESE PROJECTS WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $194,235 AND $219,558. THE BUREAU'S ENGINEERING ESTIMATE FOR THE WORK INVOLVED WAS $170,401.37. AS TO THE KEAMS CANYON PROJECT, AS TO WHICH THE PRINCIPAL ERROR IS ALLEGED, MR. GARRETT SUBMITTED A BID OF $27,854 AS COMPARED TO THE GOVERNMENT COST ESTIMATE OF $39,929.73 AND OTHER BIDS OF $53,252 AND $60,552.

IT IS REPORTED THAT IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE BID OPENING, THE WIDE RANGE IN PRICES WAS NOTICED AND CALLED TO THE ATTENTION OF A MR. W. C. MORGAN, WHO WAS A SUB-BIDDER OF MR. GARRETT PRESENT AT THE BID OPENING. AFTER BEING CONTACTED BY MR. MORGAN, MR. GARRETT WENT TO THE OFFICE OF THE BRANCH OF BUILDINGS AND UTILITIES TO DISCUSS HIS BID AND, AFTER A BRIEF DISCUSSION, HE WAS REQUESTED BY BUREAU OFFICIALS TO FURNISH WRITTEN VERIFICATION OF HIS BID. AT THAT TIME HE EXPRESSED THE OPINION THAT THE BIDS FOR THE FOUR ITEMS WERE APPARENTLY THOSE HE INTENDED TO MAKE; HOWEVER, HE ASKED AND WAS GRANTED PERMISSION TO CHECK HIS BID AND FURNISH THE VERIFICATION ON JULY 5.

AMONG THE PAPERS TRANSMITTED HERE WITH THE LETTER OF AUGUST 2, 1956, WAS A MEMORANDUM DATED JULY 5, 1956, BY MR. EARL D. RATLIFF, CONTRACT SPECIALIST, REPORTING THAT MR. GARRETT APPEARED AT THE OFFICE OF THE BRANCH OF BUILDINGS AND UTILITIES ON THE MORNING OF JULY 5, 1956, BEARING HIS ORIGINAL BID AND WORKING PAPERS AND MAKING AN ORAL ALLEGATION THAT HIS BID WAS IN ERROR. BY LETTER OF JULY 9, 1956, MR. GARRETT FURNISHED A WRITTEN EXPLANATION OF THE ERROR IN HIS BID AND SUBMITTED CERTAIN EXHIBITS, CONSISTING OF WORKSHEETS, ETC., IN SUPPORT THEREOF.

IT APPEARS FROM THE PAPERS SUBMITTED BY MR. GARRETT THAT THE PRINCIPAL ERROR ALLEGED WAS A MISTAKE IN ADDITION OF THE ITEMS COMPRISING THE BID OF $27,854 FOR THE KEAMS CANYON PROJECT. THE TOTAL ENTERED ON THE BASIC PRICE WORKSHEET WAS $21,354, WHEREAS, IF CORRECTLY ADDED, THE TOTAL SHOULD HAVE BEEN $37,047.79--- A DIFFERENCE OF $15,693.79. ALSO, IN HIS LETTER OF JULY 9, 1956, MR. GARRETT STATED THAT HE HAD MADE AN ERROR OF $420 IN COMPUTING THE TOTAL OF THE FIRST FIVE ITEMS ON HIS WORKSHEET COVERING A PART OF THE WORK ON THE WINDOW ROCK PROJECT.

IT IS APPARENT FROM THE PAPERS SUBMITTED THAT MR. GARRETT MADE ERRORS AMOUNTING TO $16,113.79 IN SUBMITTING HIS BID HEREIN AND THAT EXCEPT FOR THE ERRORS THE BID WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE AMOUNT OF $165,214.65. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE ERRORS WERE ALLEGED AND EXPLAINED PRIOR TO AWARD AND THE INTENDED BID PRICE FULLY ESTABLISHED, THE BID OF WILLIAM H. GARRETT MAY BE CORRECTED TO SHOW THE PRICE AS $165,214.65, AND AS SO CORRECTED MAY BE CONSIDERED IN MAKING THE AWARD, IT BEING NOTED THAT SUCH CORRECTED BID PRICE IS SUBSTANTIALLY LESS THAN THE NEXT HIGHER BID.

IN THE EVENT OF AWARD TO MR. GARRETT, A REFERENCE TO THIS DECISION SHOULD BE MADE ON THE CONTRACT.

THE PAPERS TRANSMITTED HERE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE CONTRACTOR'S LETTER OF JULY 9, 1956, AND ESTIMATE SHEETS, AND MR. RATLIFF'S MEMORANDUM OF JULY 5, 1956, ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.