B-141171, NOV. 23, 1959

B-141171: Nov 23, 1959

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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 29. A COPY OF WHICH WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE. IT CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN HELD BY THIS OFFICE THAT TO PERMIT PUBLIC OFFICERS TO ACCEPT BIDS NOT COMPLYING IN SUBSTANCE WITH THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS OR TO PERMIT BIDDERS TO VARY THEIR PROPOSALS AFTER THE BIDS ARE OPENED WOULD SOON REDUCE TO A FARCE THE WHOLE PROCEDURE OF LETTING PUBLIC CONTRACTS ON AN OPEN COMPETITIVE BASIS. WHILE THIS RULE HAS BEEN APPLIED GENERALLY TO SITUATIONS WHEREIN BIDDERS HAVE ATTEMPTED TO VARY THEIR PROPOSALS AFTER BID OPENING. IT IS EVEN MORE APPLICABLE TO A SITUATION WHERE NO BID WAS SUBMITTED PRIOR TO THE OPENING DATE PRESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION. WE PERCEIVE NO LEGAL BASIS FOR DISTURBING THE AWARD WHICH WAS MADE IN THE INSTANT CASE TO THE HIGHEST RESPONSIVE BIDDER.

B-141171, NOV. 23, 1959

TO SHIPS AND POWER, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, 1959, TO THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, MARITIME ADMINISTRATION, A COPY OF WHICH WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE, CONCERNING ACTION TAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH BIDS RECEIVED ON INVITATION NO. PD-X-568.

AN EXAMINATION OF THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE ABOVE-MENTIONED INVITATION, DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1959, ISSUED BY THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION, INVITED SEALED BIDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF A VESSEL LOCATED IN THE MOBILE, ALABAMA, RESERVE FLEET. THE INVITATION SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THAT THE BIDS MUST BE RECEIVED BEFORE 2:15 P.M., OCTOBER 22, 1959, SINCE THEY WOULD BE PUBLICLY OPENED AND READ AT 2:30 P.M., ON THE SAME DATE, AT THE OFFICES OF THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION, WASHINGTON, D.C. AT 7:05 A.M., ON OCTOBER 23, 1959, ONE DAY AFTER BID OPENING, THE ADMINISTRATION RECEIVED A TELEGRAM FROM YOU OFFERING TO PURCHASE THE VESSEL FOR THE SUM OF $90,000, IN REPLY TO WHICH THE ADMINISTRATION ON THE SAME DATE INFORMED YOU THAT THE AWARD WOULD BE MADE TO THE HIGHEST RESPONSIVE BIDDER.

IT CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN HELD BY THIS OFFICE THAT TO PERMIT PUBLIC OFFICERS TO ACCEPT BIDS NOT COMPLYING IN SUBSTANCE WITH THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS OR TO PERMIT BIDDERS TO VARY THEIR PROPOSALS AFTER THE BIDS ARE OPENED WOULD SOON REDUCE TO A FARCE THE WHOLE PROCEDURE OF LETTING PUBLIC CONTRACTS ON AN OPEN COMPETITIVE BASIS. WHILE THIS RULE HAS BEEN APPLIED GENERALLY TO SITUATIONS WHEREIN BIDDERS HAVE ATTEMPTED TO VARY THEIR PROPOSALS AFTER BID OPENING, IT IS EVEN MORE APPLICABLE TO A SITUATION WHERE NO BID WAS SUBMITTED PRIOR TO THE OPENING DATE PRESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION.

IN VIEW THEREOF, AND SINCE YOUR TELEGRAM OF OCTOBER 23, 1959, IN NOWISE COMPLIED WITH THE TIME REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION, WE PERCEIVE NO LEGAL BASIS FOR DISTURBING THE AWARD WHICH WAS MADE IN THE INSTANT CASE TO THE HIGHEST RESPONSIVE BIDDER.