B-140084, JUL. 21, 1959

B-140084: Jul 21, 1959

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 29. TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID ON PROJECT NO. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE BIDS WERE OPENED IN SANTA FE. IT IS REPORTED THAT FOUR BIDDERS WERE PRESENT AT THE OPENING OF THE BIDS AND THAT ALTHOUGH MR. NEILSON TELEPHONED YOUR OFFICE AND IN THE ENSUING CONVERSATION STATED THAT IN THE EVENT HE WAS THE LOW BIDDER ON THE MESA VERDE PROJECT. NEILSON WAS ADVISED THAT WHILE THE BID EVALUATION HAD NOT BEEN COMPLETED. IN THE EVENT HE WAS FOUND TO BE LOW BIDDER. THAT SUCH FACT WAS NOT DISCOVERED BY HIM UNTIL THAT MORNING. NEILSON WAS ADVISED THAT HE SHOULD SUBMIT IN WRITING A STATEMENT EXPLAINING THE ALLEGED ERROR AND EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT THEREOF.

B-140084, JUL. 21, 1959

TO MR. JAMES M. CARPENTER, CONTRACTING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 29, 1959, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR ALLEGED BY NEILSONS INCORPORATED, DOLORES, COLORADO, TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID ON PROJECT NO. RO 33-68, CONSTRUCTION OF WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS, HUINS AREA, MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE BIDS WERE OPENED IN SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO, AT 3:00 P.M. ON JUNE 19, 1959. IT IS REPORTED THAT FOUR BIDDERS WERE PRESENT AT THE OPENING OF THE BIDS AND THAT ALTHOUGH MR. ARTHUR L. NEILSON, VICE PRESIDENT OF NEILSONS INCORPORATED, DELIVERED HIS BID IN PERSON ON JUNE 19, HE DID NOT REMAIN FOR THE OPENING. ON SATURDAY MORNING, JUNE 20, MR. NEILSON TELEPHONED YOUR OFFICE AND IN THE ENSUING CONVERSATION STATED THAT IN THE EVENT HE WAS THE LOW BIDDER ON THE MESA VERDE PROJECT, HE HAD MADE A SERIOUS MISTAKE IN HIS BID. MR. NEILSON WAS ADVISED THAT WHILE THE BID EVALUATION HAD NOT BEEN COMPLETED, HE APPEARED TO BE THE LOW BIDDER. MR. NEILSON REQUESTED, IN THE EVENT HE WAS FOUND TO BE LOW BIDDER, TO BE ADVISED WHAT STEPS HE COULD TAKE TO RECTIFY HIS ERROR OR TO WITHDRAW HIS BID. HE EXPLAINED THAT IN OBTAINING QUOTATIONS FROM SUPPLIERS BY TELEPHONE HE RECEIVED A QUOTATION ON A DIFFERENT TYPE OF PIPE FROM THAT REQUIRED BY ITEMS 3 AND 7 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS, AND THAT SUCH FACT WAS NOT DISCOVERED BY HIM UNTIL THAT MORNING. MR. NEILSON WAS ADVISED THAT HE SHOULD SUBMIT IN WRITING A STATEMENT EXPLAINING THE ALLEGED ERROR AND EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT THEREOF.

BY LETTERS OF JUNE 23 AND 24, 1959, MR. NEILSON EXPLAINED THE ERROR AND SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT THEREOF HIS ORIGINAL ESTIMATE SHEETS AND TWO WRITTEN QUOTATIONS FROM SUPPLIERS. MR. NEILSON REQUESTED PERMISSION TO WITHDRAW HIS BID, OR TO ADJUST HIS BID TO $41,617.31 TO COMPENSATE FOR THE ALLEGED ERROR.

A COMPARISON OF THE BID PRICES BETWEEN MR. NEILSON'S BID AND THE NEXT LOW BID REFLECTS A CONSIDERABLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BID PRICES FOR ITEMS 3 AND 7, PARTICULARLY THOSE FOR ITEM 7, $16,736.15 AS AGAINST $25,720.82. MR. NEILSON'S AGGREGATE BID IS IN THE AMOUNT OF $31,463.41 AND THE TWO NEXT LOW AGGREGATE BIDS ARE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $44,703.78 AND $46,748.97.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD THERE APPEARS NO DOUBT THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE IN THE BID AS ALLEGED. HOWEVER, THE EVIDENCE DOES NOT WARRANT CORRECTION OF THE BID, AS SUCH ACTION WOULD AMOUNT TO PERMITTING THE BIDDER TO RECOMPUTE HIS BID WHICH IS NOT PERMITTED AFTER BID OPENING. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 575.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE ERROR WAS ALLEGED AND EVIDENCE WAS SUBMITTED PRIOR TO AWARD, WHICH REASONABLY ESTABLISHES THAT AN ERROR WAS, IN FACT, MADE, THE BID OF NEILSONS INCORPORATED SHOULD BE DISREGARDED IN CONSIDERING THE BIDS FOR AWARD.

THE PAPERS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE LETTERS DATED JUNE 23 AND 24, 1959, AND THE ABSTRACT OF THE BIDS, ARE RETURNED.