B-135237, FEB. 25, 1958

B-135237: Feb 25, 1958

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B. GRENELL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 13. - WAS NOT DELIVERED UNTIL AFTER THE TIME SET FOR OPENING OF THE BIDS. THE INVITATION PROVIDED THAT BIDS FOR REPAIRS TO THE COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY SHIP LESTER JONES WERE TO BE OPENED AT 10:00 A.M. THE CIRCUMSTANCES CONCERNING THE RECEIPT OF THE LATE BID ARE REPORTED AS FOLLOWS: "* * * THE EVENTS WHICH TOOK PLACE AT THE OPENING OF BIDS ARE RECOUNTED BELOW. TIMES CITED ARE CLOCK TIMES AS SHOWN BY THE CLOCK IN THE SHIP'S WARDROOM WHERE THE BIDS WERE OPENED AND TABULATED. IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE EVENTS HERE DESCRIBED THE CLOCK WAS CHECKED AGAINST THE SHIP'S CHRONOMETER (AN ACCURATE TIMEPIECE CORRECTED DAILY BY REFERENCE TO RADIO TIME SIGNALS) AND FOUND TO BE 3 MINUTES SLOW ON PACIFIC STANDARD TIME.

B-135237, FEB. 25, 1958

TO CAPTAIN S. B. GRENELL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 13, 1958, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE BID OF MARITIME SHIPYARDS SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. LJ-58-RV-1, ISSUED ON JANUARY 13, 1958, MAY BE CONSIDERED, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE BID--- THE LOWEST RECEIVED--- WAS NOT DELIVERED UNTIL AFTER THE TIME SET FOR OPENING OF THE BIDS.

THE INVITATION PROVIDED THAT BIDS FOR REPAIRS TO THE COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY SHIP LESTER JONES WERE TO BE OPENED AT 10:00 A.M. (P.S.T.) FEBRUARY 7, 1958. THE CIRCUMSTANCES CONCERNING THE RECEIPT OF THE LATE BID ARE REPORTED AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * THE EVENTS WHICH TOOK PLACE AT THE OPENING OF BIDS ARE RECOUNTED BELOW; TIMES CITED ARE CLOCK TIMES AS SHOWN BY THE CLOCK IN THE SHIP'S WARDROOM WHERE THE BIDS WERE OPENED AND TABULATED. IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE EVENTS HERE DESCRIBED THE CLOCK WAS CHECKED AGAINST THE SHIP'S CHRONOMETER (AN ACCURATE TIMEPIECE CORRECTED DAILY BY REFERENCE TO RADIO TIME SIGNALS) AND FOUND TO BE 3 MINUTES SLOW ON PACIFIC STANDARD TIME.

"AT APPROXIMATELY 9:45 A.M. (P.S.T.) REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE FOLLOWING SHIPYARDS ARRIVED AND PRESENTED SEALED BIDS:

LAKE UNION DRYDOCK COMPANY

ROWE MACHINE WORKS

COMMERCIAL SHIP REPAIR COMPANY

PACIFIC FISHERMEN, INC.

"AT 10:00 A.M. (P.S.T.) THE COMMANDING OFFICER (ALSO ACTING AS CONTRACTING OFFICER) CALLED THE DISTRICT OFFICE TO ASCERTAIN IF ANY BIDS HAD ARRIVED BY MAIL. HE WAS INFORMED THAT NONE HAD.

"AT 10:01 (P.S.T.) THE COMMANDING OFFICER BEGAN OPENING THE SEALED BIDS FOR TABULATION OF ITEM BY ITEM PRICES BY THE SHIP YEOMAN (CLERK).

"AT 10:06 A.M. (P.S.T.) TWO REPRESENTATIVES OF MARITIME SHIPYARDS ARRIVED AND PRESENTED A SEALED BID. AT THIS TIME, ONE BID HAD BEEN OPENED AND TABULATED AND A SECOND BID HAD BEEN OPENED BUT TABULATION HAD NOT BEGUN. IT WAS STATED BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF MARITIME SHIPYARDS THAT THEY HAD LEFT THEIR PLACE OF BUSINESS IN TIME TO ARRIVE BEFORE 10:00 A.M. (P.S.T.) BUT HAD BEEN DELAYED IN TRAFFIC. THE LATE BID WAS TENTATIVELY ACCEPTED BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER, OPENED AND TABULATED. IN THIS ACTION RELIANCE WAS HAD ON THE WORDING OF PARAGRAPH 7 OF STANDARD FORM 22, INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS, BY ANALOGY WITH LATE BIDS ARRIVING BY MAIL.'

PARAGRAPH 7 OF THE INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS PROVIDES THAT BIDS RECEIVED AFTER THE TIME FIXED FOR OPENING WILL BE CONSIDERED, PROVIDED THEY ARE RECEIVED BEFORE AWARD AND PROVIDED THAT FAILURE TO ARRIVE ON TIME WAS DUE SOLELY TO A DELAY IN THE MAILS FOR WHICH THE BIDDER WAS NOT RESPONSIBLE; OTHERWISE LATE BIDS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. IT IS ALSO PROVIDED THAT BIDS WHICH WERE DEPOSITED FOR TRANSMISSION BY TELEGRAPH IN TIME FOR RECEIPT, BY NORMAL TRANSMISSION PROCEDURE, PRIOR TO THE TIME FIXED FOR OPENING AND SUBSEQUENTLY DELAYED THROUGH NO FAULT OF THE BIDDER WILL BE CONSIDERED IF RECEIVED PRIOR TO AWARD.

IT HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF BIDDERS TO SEE THAT THEIR BIDS REACH THE DESIGNATED OFFICE BEFORE THE TIME FIXED FOR THE OPENING OF BIDS. THE PURPOSE OF THAT REQUIREMENT IS TO GIVE ALL BIDDERS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, TO PREVENT FRAUD, AND TO PRESERVE THE INTEGRITY OF THE COMPETITIVE BID SYSTEM.

UNDER THE EXPRESS TERMS OF THE INVITATION, BIDS WERE REQUIRED TO BE SUBMITTED BY 10:00 A.M. THE BID OF MARITIME SHIPYARDS WAS NOT SUBMITTED BY THE TIME SPECIFIED, AND ITS EXCUSE FOR LATE ARRIVAL MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED UNDER THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION FOR BIDS. OBVIOUSLY, THERE MUST BE A TIME AFTER WHICH BIDS MAY NOT BE RECEIVED, AND TO PERMIT CONSIDERATIONS OF DELAYS IN TRAFFIC, AND THE LIKE, TO ALTER OR AFFECT THE FIXED AND EXACT TIME CLEARLY STATED IN THE INVITATION WOULD, IN OUR OPINION, TEND TO WEAKEN THE COMPETITIVE BID SYSTEM. WHILE SUCH FIXED REQUIREMENT FOR BID OPENING MAY OPERATE HARSHLY IN CERTAIN INSTANCES, ANY RELAXATION OF THE RULE WOULD INEVITABLY CREATE CONFUSION AND DISAGREEMENTS AS TO ITS APPLICABILITY IN MANY CASES AND FACILITATE THE PERPETRATION OF FRAUDS.

THEREFORE, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT NO AUTHORITY EXISTS FOR CONSIDERING THE LATE BID OF MARITIME SHIPYARDS, AND THAT OUR OFFICE WILL INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO AN AWARD ON THE BASIS OF THE CORRECT LOWEST BID RECEIVED OTHER THAN THE LATE BID.