B-134817, MAR. 10, 1958

B-134817: Mar 10, 1958

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TO OTIS STEEL PRODUCTS CORPORATION: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 6. THAT LATE BIDS WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED UNLESS THEY ARE RECEIVED BEFORE AWARD 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.'. IT IS STATED THAT. IT WAS ESTABLISHED THAT A LETTER AIR MAILED FROM ELLICOTTVILLE. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT HAD THE BID BEEN IN THE AIR MAIL POUCH ARRIVING AT 8:25 A.M. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PICKED UP AT 10:15 A.M. THE ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL OF SUCH MAIL AT THE POST OFFICE IS 9:00 A.M. UNDER NORMAL OPERATING PROCEDURES THE MAIL IS SEGREGATED. THE MAIL IS THEN DISTRIBUTED TO THE VARIOUS UNITS BY THE POSTAL OFFICER.

B-134817, MAR. 10, 1958

TO OTIS STEEL PRODUCTS CORPORATION:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 6, 1958, PROTESTING AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT MADE BY THE KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, MISSISSIPPI, UNDER INVITATION TO BID NO. 22-600-57-122, OPENED ON JUNE 22, 1957, FOR THE FURNISHING OF STEEL SHELVING.

THE INVITATION PROVIDED THAT BIDS WOULD BE RECEIVED UNTIL 10:30 A.M. (C.S.T.), JUNE 22, 1957, AND THAT LATE BIDS WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED UNLESS THEY ARE RECEIVED BEFORE AWARD 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.'

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT YOU DISPATCHED YOUR BID VIA AIR MAIL FROM ELLICOTTVILLE, NEW YORK, ON JUNE 21, 1957, AT 12:00 NOON (E.S.T.); THAT THE BID ACTUALLY ARRIVED AT THE BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI, POST OFFICE AT 1:30 P.M. (C.S.T.) ON JUNE 22; AND THAT IT REACHED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AT KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE AT 10:30 A.M. (C.S.T.) ON JUNE 24. IN A REPORT ATTACHED TO YOUR LETTER, IT IS STATED THAT, AS A RESULT OF INQUIRY AT THE OFFICE OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, IT WAS ESTABLISHED THAT A LETTER AIR MAILED FROM ELLICOTTVILLE, NEW YORK, AT 12:00 NOON WOULD ARRIVE UNDER NORMAL AIR TRANSPORTATION AT THE BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI, AIRPORT AT 8:25 A.M. (C.S.T.) ON THE NEXT DAY. HENCE, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT HAD THE BID BEEN IN THE AIR MAIL POUCH ARRIVING AT 8:25 A.M. AT THE AIRPORT, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PICKED UP AT 10:15 A.M. BY A SPECIAL KESSLER AIR FORCE BASE TRUCK AT THE BILOXI POST OFFICE. HOWEVER, YOUR STATEMENT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES RESPECTING THE MAILING OF YOUR BID DID NOT TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE TIME INVOLVED IN TRANSFERRING AIR MAIL FROM THE BILOXI AIRPORT TO THE BILOXI POST OFFICE. THE ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL OF SUCH MAIL AT THE POST OFFICE IS 9:00 A.M., AND UNDER NORMAL OPERATING PROCEDURES THE MAIL IS SEGREGATED, BUNDLED, AND PLACED IN VARIOUS SACKS FOR DELIVERY TO THE SCHEDULED PICKUP TRUCK FROM THE AIR BASE AT 9:00 A.M. UPON ARRIVAL AT THE BASE, THE MAIL IS THEN DISTRIBUTED TO THE VARIOUS UNITS BY THE POSTAL OFFICER. ACCORDINGLY, IN THE NORMAL OPERATION OF THE MAIL DELIVERY SCHEDULE, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY UNLIKELY THAT THE LETTER CONTAINING YOUR BID WOULD HAVE BEEN DELIVERED BY THE POST OFFICE TO THE ROUTINE 9:00 A.M. PICKUP TRUCK EVEN IF THE BID HAD ARRIVED ON TIME AT THE AIRPORT AND THE POST OFFICE. SINCE YOUR BID DID NOT ARRIVE AT THE BILOXI POST OFFICE UNTIL 1:30 P.M. ON JUNE 22, THE FACT THAT A SPECIAL 10:15 A.M. TRUCK WAS SENT BY THE BASE TO THE POST OFFICE IS NOT SIGNIFICANT. IT WAS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO SEE THAT THE BID WAS ACTUALLY DELIVERED AT THE PLACE AND PRIOR TO THE TIME SPECIFIED, OR MAILED WITHIN TIME TO ARRIVE THERE IN THE NORMAL COURSE OF THE MAILS, WHICH, IN THIS INSTANCE, WAS MORE THAN 24 1/2 HOURS. SEE, IN THIS CONNECTION, 35 COMP. GEN. 432, 433.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, WE THINK THE DETERMINATION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT YOUR BID WAS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE LATE BID WAS PROPER.

WHILE YOU CONTEND THAT THE INVITATION TO BID, ALTHOUGH ISSUED ON JUNE 11, 1957, DID NOT REACH YOU UNTIL THE MORNING OF JUNE 21, INFORMATION IN THE RECORD ESTABLISHES THAT ALL INVITATIONS TO BID, INCLUDING THE ONE SENT TO YOU, WERE DISPATCHED ON JUNE 11, THEREBY ALLOWING ALL BIDDERS SUFFICIENT TIME TO PREPARE AND SUBMIT THEIR BIDS.

ACCORDINGLY, NO LEGAL BASIS EXISTS UPON WHICH OUR OFFICE MAY DISTURB THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN.