B-140952, NOV. 9, 1959

B-140952: Nov 9, 1959

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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER OF OCTOBER 8. BIDS WERE REQUESTED. THE CONTRACTOR WAS TO PROVIDE 6 CONTAINERS OF THREE CUBIC YARD CAPACITY AND 15 CONTAINERS OF FIVE CUBIC YARD CAPACITY. QUOTATIONS WERE REQUESTED ON A PRICE PER CONTAINER PER MONTH FOR EACH OF THE TWO SIZES OF CONTAINERS. IN RESPONSE TO SOLICITATION FROM FIVE FIRMS THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED. YOUR BID WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $15 AND $22 PER MONTH. IT IS CONTENDED BY YOUR ATTORNEYS THAT THE CONTAINERS SPECIFIED REQUIRED THE USE OF EQUIPMENT WHICH IS MANUFACTURED BY ONE COMPANY WHICH HAS A PATENT ON IT. SPECIAL TRUCK BODIES AND LIFTING EQUIPMENT ARE REQUIRED TO HANDLE THE CONTAINERS BECAUSE OF THEIR SIZES. IT IS ALSO CONTENDED THAT ONLY ONE TRASH COLLECTION FIRM IN WASHINGTON PRESENTLY EMPLOYS THIS EQUIPMENT AND THAT FOR THIS REASON.

B-140952, NOV. 9, 1959

TO SHAYNE BROS., INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER OF OCTOBER 8, 1959, FROM YOUR ATTORNEYS, PROTESTING AGAINST THE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED BY NATIONAL CAPITAL HOUSING AUTHORITY IN CONNECTION WITH INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 12, ISSUED SEPTEMBER 29, 1959.

UNDER THE REFERRED-TO INVITATION, BIDS WERE REQUESTED--- TO BE OPENED OCTOBER 7, 1959--- FOR FURNISHING SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT FOR THE COLLECTION OF TRASH FROM BENNING TERRACE AND STODDERT TERRACE PROPERTIES, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, BEGINNING WITH THE FIRST COLLECTION DAY AFTER RECEIPT OF WRITTEN NOTICE TO PROCEED AND TERMINATING ON JUNE 30, 1960. THE CONTRACTOR WAS TO PROVIDE 6 CONTAINERS OF THREE CUBIC YARD CAPACITY AND 15 CONTAINERS OF FIVE CUBIC YARD CAPACITY. QUOTATIONS WERE REQUESTED ON A PRICE PER CONTAINER PER MONTH FOR EACH OF THE TWO SIZES OF CONTAINERS. THE INVITATION RESERVED THE RIGHT TO CANCEL THE CONTRACT TO BE LET, UPON 30 DAYS' WRITTEN NOTICE, AS WELL AS THE RIGHT TO RENEW THE AGREEMENT FOR ONE YEAR UPON WRITTEN NOTICE TO THE CONTRACTOR TO THIS EFFECT 30 DAYS PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF THE CONTRACT.

IN RESPONSE TO SOLICITATION FROM FIVE FIRMS THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED. THE LOW BIDDER, SQUARE DEAL TRUCKING COMPANY, SUBMITTED A BID OF $15 PER THREE CUBIC YARD CONTAINER PER MONTH AND $20 FOR THE FIVE CUBIC YARD CONTAINER ON THE SAME BASIS. YOUR BID WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $15 AND $22 PER MONTH, RESPECTIVELY; AND THE OTHER BIDDER, IN THE AMOUNT OF $37 AND $52.50 PER MONTH, RESPECTIVELY.

IT IS CONTENDED BY YOUR ATTORNEYS THAT THE CONTAINERS SPECIFIED REQUIRED THE USE OF EQUIPMENT WHICH IS MANUFACTURED BY ONE COMPANY WHICH HAS A PATENT ON IT. IN ADDITION, SPECIAL TRUCK BODIES AND LIFTING EQUIPMENT ARE REQUIRED TO HANDLE THE CONTAINERS BECAUSE OF THEIR SIZES. IT IS ALSO CONTENDED THAT ONLY ONE TRASH COLLECTION FIRM IN WASHINGTON PRESENTLY EMPLOYS THIS EQUIPMENT AND THAT FOR THIS REASON, ANY OTHER COMPANY WHICH DESIRED TO BID WOULD HAVE TO BE IN A POSITION TO RENT OR PURCHASE AND OBTAIN THE TRUCK BODIES AND LIFTING EQUIPMENT AS WELL AS THE CONTAINERS. THESE FACTORS WERE BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE PROCURING OFFICE BY YOU AND A REQUEST WAS MADE EITHER TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF COMPARABLE EQUIPMENT, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, TO POSTPONE BID OPENING TO AFFORD OTHER POTENTIAL CONTRACTORS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LINE UP THE DESIRED EQUIPMENT. IS ALLEGED THAT YOUR REQUEST WAS DECLINED AND THAT YOU WERE ADVISED THAT THERE UNDOUBTEDLY WOULD BE A DELAY IN ISSUING A NOTICE TO PROCEED, SINCE THE DATE OF COMPLETION AND OCCUPANCY OF THE HOUSING PROJECTS WAS UNCERTAIN BUT WAS NOT EXPECTED BEFORE NOVEMBER AND EVEN POSSIBLY AS LATE AS DECEMBER. IN THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 8 IT IS STATED THAT YOU MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO PURCHASE THE REQUIRED EQUIPMENT AND ALSO TO RENT FROM A BALTIMORE FIRM THE NECESSARY EQUIPMENT, IF NEEDED BEFORE THE PURCHASED EQUIPMENT WAS DELIVERED. AS A CONSEQUENCE YOUR BID WAS HIGHER THAN IT ORDINARILY WOULD HAVE BEEN. FINALLY, IT IS STATED THAT THE UNFAIRNESS OF THE PROCEDURES FOLLOWED IS COMPOUNDED BY THE OPTION TO RENEW THE CONTRACT FOR ANOTHER YEAR AT THE PRICE BID WITH A MINIMUM OF COMPETITION.

WITH REGARD TO THE SHORT TIME ELAPSING BETWEEN THE DATE OF THE ISSUANCE OF THE INVITATION AND THE OPENING OF THE BIDS, THE PROCURING OFFICE HAS REPORTED THAT IT DESIRED EARLY COST INFORMATION FOR BUDGETARY AND GENERAL PLANNING PURPOSES. ALSO, THAT OFFICE POINTS OUT THAT ON A PRIOR EIGHT-DAY BID INVITATION FOR STATUTORY CONTAINERS OF THE SAME CAPACITY WHICH WAS ISSUED ON APRIL 22, 1959, FOR OPENING APRIL 30, REQUIRING THE WORK TO BE COMMENCED JUNE 1, 1959, YOU SUBMITTED A BID, WITHOUT PROTEST, IN THE AMOUNT OF $18 ON THREE CUBIC YARD CONTAINERS. WITH REGARD TO YOUR MAIN CONTENTION THAT THE SIZE OF THE CONTAINERS WAS SUCH THAT ONLY SPECIAL TRUCK BODIES AND LIFTING EQUIPMENT COULD HANDLE THE EQUIPMENT AND ONLY ONE TRASH COLLECTION FIRM HAD THIS EQUIPMENT, THE PROCURING OFFICE HAS STATED THAT THE USE OF SMALLER RECEPTACLES, SUCH AS THE TWO CUBIC YARD, ENCOURAGED VANDALISM. ALSO, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT SERVICE IN THIS CASE UP TO THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1960 MIGHT NOT EXCEED SIX MONTHS, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO SERIOUS OBJECTION TO THE EXTENSION OF THE CONTRACT FOR ONE ADDITIONAL YEAR ESPECIALLY IF IT SEEMED TO BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES.

IN VIEW OF THE EXPLANATION FURNISHED BY THE PROCURING OFFICE AS TO THE NEED FOR THE LARGER SIZE RECEPTACLES AND AS TO THE TIME THAT WOULD NECESSARILY ELAPSE BETWEEN THE DATE OF OPENING OF BIDS AND THE DATE THAT SERVICE MIGHT BE EXPECTED TO BEGIN, WE DO NOT FEEL THAT THE ACTION OF THE PROCURING OFFICE WAS ARBITRARY.

ACCORDINGLY, THE FACTS PRESENTED WOULD NOT WARRANT A CONCLUSION THAT THE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED WAS IMPROPER SO AS TO REQUIRE A REJECTION OF ALL BIDS AND READVERTISEMENT OF THE SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED.