B-135485, JUN. 17, 1958

B-135485: Jun 17, 1958

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INC.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 11. PROTESTING AGAINST THE MANNER IN WHICH AN AWARD OF A CONTRACT WAS MADE BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CENTER. FIVE BIDS WERE RECEIVED. A REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR FIRM ADVISED THAT THE BIDS OFFERING DISCOUNTS WERE IN ERROR AND IN CONFLICT WITH FLORIDA RAILROAD COMMISSION TARIFF RULES AND REGULATIONS. UPON VERIFICATION THAT DISCOUNTS WERE PROHIBITED UNDER RULE 20. THE TWO LOW BIDS WERE CHANGED TO THE CORRECT TARIFF RATE. SINCE IT WAS DETERMINED THAT ALL BIDS WERE SUBJECT TO FLORIDA TARIFF REGULATIONS AND SINCE IT WAS DECIDED IN FAIRNESS TO ALL BIDDERS TO AWARD BY LOT. THE CONTRACT WAS AWARDED ON MARCH 10. THE SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF THE INVITATION CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING PROVISION: "BIDS WILL BE CONSIDERED ONLY FROM LICENSED BONDS PUBLIC CARRIERS.

B-135485, JUN. 17, 1958

TO FOGARTY BROS. TRANSFER, INC.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 11, 1958, WITH ENCLOSURE, PROTESTING AGAINST THE MANNER IN WHICH AN AWARD OF A CONTRACT WAS MADE BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CENTER, BAY PINES, FLORIDA, UNDER INVITATION NO. 58-93, ISSUED ON MARCH 4, 1958.

THE INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS, TO BE OPENED ON MARCH 10, 1958, FOR TRANSPORTATION AND ACCESSORIAL SERVICES RELATIVE TO THE MOVEMENT OF A VETERANS ADMINISTRATION OFFICE FROM MIAMI TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA. FIVE BIDS WERE RECEIVED, INCLUDING YOUR BID AND THAT OF TWO OTHER FIRMS (ONE OF WHICH MADE AN OBVIOUS ERROR IN TRANSPOSING FIGURES) OFFERING TO FURNISH THE SERVICES AT $3.57 PER CWT. THE OTHER TWO BIDDERS QUOTED THE SAME RATE BUT OFFERED DISCOUNTS FROM THE TENDERED RATES. THE ACTING MANAGER, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CENTER, BAY PINES, FLORIDA, REPORTS THAT AT THE TIME OF RECORDING THE OPENED BIDS, A REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR FIRM ADVISED THAT THE BIDS OFFERING DISCOUNTS WERE IN ERROR AND IN CONFLICT WITH FLORIDA RAILROAD COMMISSION TARIFF RULES AND REGULATIONS. UPON VERIFICATION THAT DISCOUNTS WERE PROHIBITED UNDER RULE 20, PAGE 100, LAWS AND RULES OF THE COMMISSION, THE TWO LOW BIDS WERE CHANGED TO THE CORRECT TARIFF RATE, THEREBY PLACING ALL FIVE BIDDERS IN THE SAME POSITION PRICE- WISE. SINCE IT WAS DETERMINED THAT ALL BIDS WERE SUBJECT TO FLORIDA TARIFF REGULATIONS AND SINCE IT WAS DECIDED IN FAIRNESS TO ALL BIDDERS TO AWARD BY LOT, THE CONTRACT WAS AWARDED ON MARCH 10, 1958, TO TERMINAL VAN LINES, INC., THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER BY LOT AT THE RATE OF $3.57 PER CWT.

THE SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF THE INVITATION CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING PROVISION:

"BIDS WILL BE CONSIDERED ONLY FROM LICENSED BONDS PUBLIC CARRIERS. CARRIER MUST COMPLY WITH ALL STATE AND LOCAL ORDINANCES, RULES AND REGULATIONS AS TO TRANSPORTATION, LOADING AND UNLOADING. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CARRIER TO ASCERTAIN SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AND BE GOVERNED THEREBY.'

IN VIEW OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION THAT, BY REASON OF THIS PROVISION, ALL BIDS SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE APPLICABLE FLORIDA TARIFF, WE THINK THAT THE BIDS OFFERING DISCOUNTS SHOULD HAVE BEEN REJECTED AS NON-RESPONSIVE, OR ALL BIDS REJECTED AND THE PROCUREMENT READVERTISED. BUT, IN THE LATTER CONNECTION, THE ACTING MANAGER REPORTS THAT:

"* * * TIME WOULD NOT ALLOW READVERTISING HAD ALL BIDS BEEN REJECTED. SINCE IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT ALL BIDS WERE SUBJECT TO FLORIDA TARIFF REGULATIONS, HAD ALL BIDS BEEN REJECTED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WOULD HAVE ISSUED A BILL OF LADING TO A CARRIER OF HIS SELECTION. RATHER THAN FOLLOW THIS METHOD AND IN FAIRNESS AND CONSIDERATION TO ALL CARRIERS WHO INDICATED A DESIRE FOR THIS BUSINESS, AWARD WAS MADE BY LOT.'

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES AS THUS INDICATED, AND SINCE THE SERVICES COVERED BY THE INVITATION AND AWARD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED AND PAYMENT MADE THEREFOR, THERE IS NO ACTION OUR OFFICE MAY NOW TAKE WITH RESPECT TO THE MATTER.