B-141583, MAR. 7, 1960

B-141583: Mar 7, 1960

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INC.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TWO LETTERS OF DECEMBER 22. 2 AND 4 OF THE NON-SET-ASIDE PORTION WERE AWARDED TO THE LECTROLITE CORPORATION. THAT YOUR FIRM WAS FOUND TO BE IN LINE FOR NEGOTIATION FOR THE SET-ASIDE PORTION. WAS REQUESTED TO CONDUCT A PRE-AWARD SURVEY OF YOUR PLANT AND FACILITIES. THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL WAS REQUESTED TO CONDUCT A PRE- AWARD SURVEY OF YOUR PLANT AND FACILITIES. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOUR FIRM WAS NEITHER CONSIDERED FOR AWARD OF THE SET-ASIDE PORTION OF INVITATION NO. 600-259-60 NOR AWARD UNDER INVITATION NO. 600-400-60. PRIMARILY BECAUSE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT YOU ARE NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. THE LATTER DETERMINATION WAS BASED ON A REPORT FROM THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL.

B-141583, MAR. 7, 1960

TO MANHATTAN LIGHTING EQUIPMENT CO., INC.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TWO LETTERS OF DECEMBER 22, 1959, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, PROTESTING THE ACTION OF THE U.S. NAVY PURCHASING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D.C., IN REFUSING TO MAKE AN AWARD OF TWO CONTRACTS TO YOU PURSUANT TO INVITATIONS NOS. 600-259-60 AND 600 400-60.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT REQUESTED OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY ON THIS MATTER HAS NOW BEEN RECEIVED. IT APPEARS THAT INVITATION NO. 600-259-60 DIVIDED A PROCUREMENT OF OPEN END WRENCHES INTO A LABOR SURPLUS AREA CONCERN AND SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN SET-ASIDE PORTION AND A NON-SET-ASIDE PORTION; THAT ITEMS 1, 2 AND 4 OF THE NON-SET-ASIDE PORTION WERE AWARDED TO THE LECTROLITE CORPORATION; THAT YOUR FIRM WAS FOUND TO BE IN LINE FOR NEGOTIATION FOR THE SET-ASIDE PORTION, EQUAL TO THE QUANTITIES UNDER ITEMS 1, 2 AND 4; AND THAT PRIOR TO NEGOTIATING THE SET-ASIDE PORTION WITH YOUR FIRM, THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL, NEW YORK CITY, WAS REQUESTED TO CONDUCT A PRE-AWARD SURVEY OF YOUR PLANT AND FACILITIES. THE RECORD ALSO INDICATES THAT BY INVITATION NO. 600-400-60, THE U.S. NAVY PURCHASING OFFICE REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING CROSS CUT SAW RECONDITIONING TOOL KITS; THAT YOUR FIRM SUBMITTED THE LOWEST BID ON THE KITS; AND THAT PRIOR TO AWARD, THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL WAS REQUESTED TO CONDUCT A PRE- AWARD SURVEY OF YOUR PLANT AND FACILITIES. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOUR FIRM WAS NEITHER CONSIDERED FOR AWARD OF THE SET-ASIDE PORTION OF INVITATION NO. 600-259-60 NOR AWARD UNDER INVITATION NO. 600-400-60, PRIMARILY BECAUSE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT YOU ARE NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. THE LATTER DETERMINATION WAS BASED ON A REPORT FROM THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL, NEW YORK CITY, WHICH INDICATED THAT YOU HAD A POOR RECORD OF DELIVERIES UNDER YOUR CONTRACTS; THAT SUB STANDARD MATERIAL WAS DELIVERED BY YOU TO NAVAL ACTIVITIES; AND THAT THE METHODS OF PROCUREMENT USED BY YOU ARE NOT CONSONANT WITH NORMAL PRACTICES IN REGARD TO GOVERNMENT BUSINESS AND CONSEQUENTLY RESULTED IN AWKWARD TECHNICAL AND PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATION.

AS YOU HAVE BEEN ADVISED PREVIOUSLY WITH RESPECT TO SIMILAR MATTERS CONSIDERED BY OUR OFFICE AT YOUR REQUEST, THE FUNCTION OF DETERMINING WHETHER A PARTICULAR PERSON OR FIRM IS A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER, WITHIN THE INTENT AND MEANING OF THE ADVERTISING STATUTES OF THE UNITED STATES, AND THUS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE AN AWARD OF GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS, IS ESSENTIALLY AN ADMINISTRATIVE ONE INVOLVING THE DETERMINATION OF SUCH FACTUAL ISSUES AS THE BIDDER'S REPUTATION FOR PAST PERFORMANCE, HIS OVER-ALL EXPERIENCE IN THE PARTICULAR INDUSTRY INVOLVED, HIS PLANT FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT, INTEGRITY, FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, AND LIKE CONSIDERATIONS, SUCH AS CAN BE DETERMINED ONLY BY, AND TO THE SATISFACTION OF, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT ACTIVITY DIRECTLY CONCERNED. SEE O-BRIEN V. CARNEY, 6 F.SUPP. 761, 762; 14 COMP. GEN. 305; 34 ID. 86.

THE MATTER OF YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IN THIS INSTANCE WAS THE SUBJECT OF AN INVESTIGATION BY THE DEPARTMENT. THE DETERMINATION OF NONRESPONSIBILITY IS SATISFACTORILY SUPPORTED BY THE RECORD WHICH IS REPLETE WITH INSTANCES OF PRIOR UNSATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE. IN CONNECTION WITH THE 21 CONTRACTS AWARDED TO YOU DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1959, THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOUR FIRM WAS DELINQUENT ON 14 OF THOSE CONTRACTS.

ACCORDINGLY, WE FIND NO BASIS TO OBJECT TO THE AWARDS MADE UNDER THE INSTANT INVITATIONS.