B-138418, JUL. 20, 1959

B-138418: Jul 20, 1959

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TO THE GLEDHILL ROAD MACHINERY CO. . * FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 9. THE THREE LOW BIDS WERE FOUND TO BE AS FOLLOWS: TABLE BIDDER PRICE PER UNIT PRODUCT OFFERED 1. 083.95 ANDERSON MODEL T-482 IT IS REPORTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY THAT THE TWO LOW BIDS WERE REJECTED BECAUSE THE PRODUCT OFFERED WAS DEEMED NOT TO MEET THE SPECIFICATIONS IN THE FOLLOWING RESPECTS: "A. THE TRIP ASSEMBLY IS UNSHIELDED WHICH COULD POSSIBLY CAUSE JAMMING FROM FREEZING ICE AND SNOW. "B. THERE IS NO LANDSIDE PLATE ON THE SMALL END OF PLOW. IS A STRUCTURAL WEAKNESS. "C. THE REVERSING FRAME IS OF A TRIANGULAR TYPE WHICH IS NOT AS STRONG AS THE SEMI-CIRCLE TYPE CONSTRUCTION. "D. THERE ARE ONLY SIX (6) VERTICAL REINFORCING MEMBERS.

B-138418, JUL. 20, 1959

TO THE GLEDHILL ROAD MACHINERY CO. . *

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 9, 1959, PROTESTING THE REJECTION OF YOUR LOW BID SUBMITTED PURSUANT TO ITEMS 1 AND 2 OF INVITATION NO. 30-601-59-25, ISSUED NOVEMBER 5, 1958, AT MITCHEL AIR FORCE BASE.

THE ITEMS OF THE INVITATION CALLED FOR 9 SNOW PLOWS DESCRIBED AS "GOOD ROADS MODEL NO. 721 OR EQUAL.' AT BID OPENING ON NOVEMBER 24, 1958, THE THREE LOW BIDS WERE FOUND TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

BIDDER PRICE PER UNIT PRODUCT OFFERED 1. THE GLEDHILL ROAD MACHINERY

CO. $744.80 GLEDHILL MODEL

11HTRW-BA 2. H. O. PENN MACHINERY CO., INC. 1,022.90 DO 3. ANDERSON ENGINEERING CO. 1,083.95 ANDERSON MODEL

T-482

IT IS REPORTED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY THAT THE TWO LOW BIDS WERE REJECTED BECAUSE THE PRODUCT OFFERED WAS DEEMED NOT TO MEET THE SPECIFICATIONS IN THE FOLLOWING RESPECTS:

"A. THE TRIP ASSEMBLY IS UNSHIELDED WHICH COULD POSSIBLY CAUSE JAMMING FROM FREEZING ICE AND SNOW.

"B. THERE IS NO LANDSIDE PLATE ON THE SMALL END OF PLOW, WHICH IN THE OPINION OF THE EVALUATORS, IS A STRUCTURAL WEAKNESS.

"C. THE REVERSING FRAME IS OF A TRIANGULAR TYPE WHICH IS NOT AS STRONG AS THE SEMI-CIRCLE TYPE CONSTRUCTION.

"D. THERE ARE ONLY SIX (6) VERTICAL REINFORCING MEMBERS, OR RIBS, WHEREAS THE GOOD ROADS AND THE ANDERSON MODELS HAVE SEVEN (7).'

THE THIRD LOW BID WAS FOUND TO BE IN CONFORMITY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS AND AWARD WAS THEREFORE MADE TO THE ANDERSON ENGINEERING CO. ON DECEMBER 3, 1958. WE ARE ADVISED THAT THE EQUIPMENT HAS BEEN DELIVERED, ACCEPTED, AND PAID FOR.

IN YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 9, 1959, YOU RESPOND TO THE POINTS RAISED AS TO THE ALLEGED FAILURE OF YOUR PRODUCT TO CONFORM TO THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AS FOLLOWS:

1. GOOD ROADS MODEL NO. 721 USES A COMPRESSION SPRING TO ACCOMPLISH THE TRIPPING ACTION WHILE YOUR PRODUCT USES EXTENSION SPRINGS. ALTHOUGH SHIELDING OF THE COMPRESSION SPRING IS NECESSARY TO KEEP THE PLOW OPERATIONAL, YOU CONTEND THAT THERE IS NO SIMILAR NECESSITY FOR SHIELDING AN EXTENSION SPRING.

2. YOU STATE THAT THE LACK OF A LANDSIDE PLATE ON THE SMALL END OF THE PLOW IS NOT A WEAKNESS, SINCE THE SMALL END OF THE MOLDBOARD IS OTHERWISE AMPLY BRACED, AND UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THE ABSENCE OF A LANDSIDE PLATE IS ACTUALLY AN ASSET.

3. YOU STATE THAT THE TRIANGULAR TYPE REVERSING FRAME USED IN YOUR PRODUCT IS STRONGER THAN THE SEMI-CIRCLE TYPE.

4. YOU STATE THAT YOUR PRODUCT HAS THE SAME NUMBER OF VERTICAL RIBS AS GOOD ROADS MODEL NO. 721 AND THAT CONFUSION PERHAPS ARISES FROM THE METHOD OF COUNTING.

WITH RESPECT AT LEAST TO THE FIRST THREE ITEMS THERE APPEARS TO BE NO CONTROVERSY AS TO THE FACTS (THAT YOUR PRODUCT HAS AN UNSHIELDED SPRING, HAS NO LANDSIDE PLATE AND USES THE TRIANGULAR TYPE REVERSING FRAME WHEREAS THE MODEL CITED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS AND THAT OFFERED IN THE ACCEPTED BID HAVE SHIELDED SPRINGS, LANDSIDE PLATES AND EMPLOY SEMI-CIRCLE TYPE CONSTRUCTION ON THE REVERSING FRAME) BUT ONLY AS TO THE CONCLUSIONS TO BE DRAWN FROM THOSE FACTS.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTUAL REQUIREMENTS AND THE DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER ARTICLES OFFERED CONFORM THERETO ARE PRIMARILY WITHIN THE PROVINCE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY, IN THIS CASE THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE. 17 COMP. GEN. 554. DIFFERENCES MAY ARISE AS TO THE DESIRABILITY OF ONE TYPE OF PRODUCT AS OPPOSED TO ANOTHER. HOWEVER, WE CANNOT INTERFERE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONCLUSIONS IN THE ABSENCE OF A FINDING THAT THE DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION OF THE SPECIFICATIONS DID NOT REPRESENT BONA FIDE DETERMINATIONS BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS CONCERNED. SINCE SUCH LACK OF BONA FIDES HAS NEITHER BEEN SHOWN NOR EVEN ALLEGED, THERE EXISTS NO BASIS UPON WHICH WE MAY INTERFERE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN.