B-132318, JULY 17, 1957, 37 COMP. GEN. 35

B-132318: Jul 17, 1957

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

BIDS - LATE - MAILED TO THE WRONG GOVERNMENT AGENCY A BID WHICH WAS NOT RECEIVED BY THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY PRIOR TO THE TIME SCHEDULED FOR OPENING. BECAUSE IT WAS MISSENT BY AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BIDDER TO ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY. WHICH WAS THE ONLY EXCUSABLE DELAY PROVIDED IN THE INVITATION. 1957: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JULY 9. TEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED AT THE DESIGNATED TIME. ARE REPORTED IN THE LETTER OF JULY 9. A PHONE CALL WAS RECEIVED BY THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF BIDDING PROCEDURES. STATED THAT HE HAD RECEIVED A PHONE CALL FROM THE NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY AND WAS ADVISED THAT A BID. THIS WAS NOT DONE IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE TIME FOR OPENING BIDS HAD PASSED.

B-132318, JULY 17, 1957, 37 COMP. GEN. 35

BIDS - LATE - MAILED TO THE WRONG GOVERNMENT AGENCY A BID WHICH WAS NOT RECEIVED BY THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY PRIOR TO THE TIME SCHEDULED FOR OPENING, BECAUSE IT WAS MISSENT BY AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BIDDER TO ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY, MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS A BID DELAYED IN THE MAILS, WHICH WAS THE ONLY EXCUSABLE DELAY PROVIDED IN THE INVITATION, EVEN THOUGH THE BID REMAINED IN THE GOVERNMENT'S POSSESSION AT ALL TIMES AFTER MAILING, AND, THEREFORE, THE LATE BID MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JULY 17, 1957:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JULY 9, 1957, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY, FURNISHING THE REPORT INFORMALLY REQUESTED BY OUR OFFICE AND REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THERE MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD A BID SUBMITTED BY GEO. F. MUTH COMPANY, INC., WASHINGTON, D.C., IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION NO. 2363, ISSUED BY THE PURCHASING SECTION, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING ESTIMATED QUANTITIES OF DESCRIBING SHEETS AND PENCIL AND INK SURFACE SHEETS AS ORDERED DURING THE PERIOD BEGINNING WITH THE DATE OF AWARD OF CONTRACT AND ENDING JUNE 30, 1958. IT ALSO PROVIDED THAT BIDS WOULD BE RECEIVED AT THE PURCHASING SECTION, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, WASHINGTON, D.C., AND OPENED AT 3 P.M., E.D.S.T., JUNE 10, 1957. TEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED AT THE DESIGNATED TIME.

THE FACTS CONCERNING THE TRANSMITTAL AND RECEIPT OF THE BID OF GEO. F. MUTH COMPANY, INC., ARE REPORTED IN THE LETTER OF JULY 9, 1957, AS FOLLOWS:

ON JUNE 11, 1957, A PHONE CALL WAS RECEIVED BY THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF BIDDING PROCEDURES, MR. C. C. SCHADE, PROCUREMENT OFFICER, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, IN WHICH MR. JOSEPH V. COPLEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF GEO. F. MUTH COMPANY, INC., STATED THAT HE HAD RECEIVED A PHONE CALL FROM THE NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY AND WAS ADVISED THAT A BID, PRESUMABLY FOR THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, HAD TURNED UP IN THEIR FILES. MR. COPLEY WANTED THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY TO SEND SOMEONE TO PICK UP THE BID AT THE NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY. THIS WAS NOT DONE IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE TIME FOR OPENING BIDS HAD PASSED. THEREUPON, MR. COPLEY STATED THAT HE WOULD ARRANGE TO HAVE THE NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY FORWARD THE BID TO THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY PURCHASING SECTION.

ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 1957, AN ENVELOPE WAS RECEIVED IN THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY PURCHASING SECTION WHICH INDICATED ON THE OUTSIDE THAT IT CONCERNED THE BID OPENING OF JUNE 10, 1957. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PREVAILING PROCUREMENT PRACTICE, THE ENVELOPE WAS RETURNED UNOPENED TO GEO. F. MUTH COMPANY, INC., AS BEING A LATE BID WHICH COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED.

AT THE REQUEST OF MR. COPLEY, A CONFERENCE WAS HELD BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, MR. GLENDON J. MOWITT, PROCUREMENT OFFICER SCHADE AND OTHER INTERIOR OFFICIALS LISTED IN THE ATTACHED MINUTES OF THE CONFERENCE. MR. COPLEY PRESENTED THE ENVELOPE WHICH WAS RETURNED TO HIM. WITH HIS APPROVAL, THE ENVELOPE WAS OPENED AND CONTAINED A YELLOW ENVELOPE ADDRESSED TO THE SUPPLY OFFICER, U.S. NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY, WHITE OAK, SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND, AND MARKED AS REFERRING TO RFQ NO. 60921-28- 57 FOR A BID OPENING ON JUNE 10, 1957,AT 4:40 P.M. ON THE ENVELOPE APPEARED A STAMP THAT IT HAD BEEN RECEIVED ON JUNE 10, 1957, AT 9:35 A.M. AND APPENDED TO IT A NOTE READING AS FOLLOWS:

"RECEIVED BY THE NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY AT 9:35 A.M. JUNE 10, 1957, IN ERROR. MRS. IRENE LANGDON, PURCHASING AGENT.'

THE YELLOW ENVELOPE WAS OPENED AND CONTAINED A BID BY THE GEO. F. MUTH COMPANY, INC., SIGNED BY JOSEPH V. COPLEY, VICE PRESIDENT, AND DATED JUNE 7, 1957.

AS IT APPEARED THAT THE BIDDER HAD IMPROPERLY ADDRESSED THE ENVELOPE CONTAINING HIS BID, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HELD THAT THE BIDDER WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE IMPROPER ADDRESSING; THAT THE BID WAS A LATE BID, AND THAT IT COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD UNDER INVITATION NO. 2363.

IN A LETTER DATED JUNE 21, 1957, ADDRESSED TO OUR OFFICE, MR. JOSEPH V. COPLEY, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE CORPORATION, STATED THAT THE CORPORATION'S BID INTENDED FOR THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY WAS ERRONEOUSLY PLACED BY ONE OF ITS EMPLOYEES IN AN ENVELOPE ADDRESSED TO THE NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY AND THAT SUCH AGENCY RECEIVED THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY BID PRIOR TO THE TIME SET FOR ITS OPENING. MR. COPLEY CONTENDED THAT THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY BID OF THE CORPORATION SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD FOR THE REASONS THAT SUCH BID REMAINED IN THE GOVERNMENT'S HANDS AT ALL TIMES AFTER ITS MAILING BY THE CORPORATION AND THAT THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY HAD RECEIVED SAMPLES OF THE ITEMS IT WAS OFFERING PRIOR TO THE BID OPENING.

PARAGRAPH 4 ( LATE BIDS) OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE INVITATION FOR BIDS PROVIDES:

BIDS AND MODIFICATIONS OR WITHDRAWALS THEREOF RECEIVED AFTER THE TIME SET FOR OPENING WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED, UNLESS THEY ARE RECEIVED BEFORE THE AWARD IS MADE, AND IT IS DETERMINED BY THE GOVERNMENT THAT FAILURE TO ARRIVE ON TIME WAS DUE SOLELY TO DELAY IN THE MAILS FOR WHICH THE BIDDER WAS NOT RESPONSIBLE.

ALL BIDDERS WERE ON NOTICE THAT, IN ORDER TO RECEIVE CONSIDERATION, BIDS WOULD HAVE TO BE RECEIVED IN THE OFFICE SPECIFIED PRIOR TO THE OPENING TIME. THE ONLY EXCEPTION TO THIS IS WHERE A BID ARRIVES BY MAIL AFTER THE TIME FIXED FOR THE OPENING, BUT BEFORE AWARD IS MADE, AND IT IS SHOWN TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT THE NONARRIVAL ON TIME WAS DUE SOLELY TO DELAY IN THE MAILS FOR WHICH THE BIDDER WAS NOT RESPONSIBLE. SINCE, IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE BID INTENDED FOR THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY WAS ERRONEOUSLY PLACED BY AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CORPORATION IN AN ENVELOPE ADDRESSED TO THE NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE SOLE CAUSE OF THE DELAY IN ARRIVAL OF THE BID WAS THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE CORPORATION. ALTHOUGH THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY BID OF THE CORPORATION WAS IN THE HANDS OF THE NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY PRIOR TO THE TIME SET FOR ITS OPENING, IT WAS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CORPORATION TO SEE THAT IT REACHED THE DESIGNATED OFFICE BEFORE THE TIME FIXED BY THE OPENING OF THE BIDS AND SUCH RESPONSIBILITY MAY NOT BE SHIFTED BY THE BIDDER TO THE GOVERNMENT. SEE 35 COMP. GEN 432.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE LATE ARRIVAL WAS NOT DUE TO THE ONE EXCUSABLE CAUSE EXPRESSLY PROVIDED FOR BY THE INVITATION, WE WOULD NOT BE WARRANTED IN AUTHORIZING THE CONSIDERATION OF THE BID OF GEO. F. MUTH COMPANY, INC.