B-142513, MAY 18, 1960

B-142513: May 18, 1960

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INC.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF APRIL 4 AND 5. YOUR BID AS TO ITEM 1 WAS REJECTED FOR THE REASON THAT THE LAMP BALLASTS OFFERED BY YOU DID NOT HAVE A COVER. YOUR BID AS TO THAT ITEM WAS REJECTED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON THE BASIS THAT IT HAD BEEN DETERMINED THAT YOU ARE NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. WHICH DETERMINATION WAS LATER SUBMITTED TO AND APPROVED BY THE CONTRACT REVIEW BOARD ON MARCH 7. THE LATTER DETERMINATION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS BASED ON A REPORT FROM THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL. DELIVERIES WERE COMPLETED 40 DAYS AFTER THE DATE SPECIFIED IN THE CONTRACT. ITEMS 1 AND 2 OF THE SUBJECT INVITATION WERE AWARDED TO MIDWAY ELECTRIC SUPPLY CO. AS YOU HAVE BEEN ADVISED PREVIOUSLY WITH RESPECT TO SIMILAR MATTERS CONSIDERED BY OUR OFFICE AT YOUR REQUEST.

B-142513, MAY 18, 1960

TO MANHATTAN LIGHTING EQUIPMENT CO., INC.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF APRIL 4 AND 5, 1960, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, PROTESTING THE ACTION OF THE GENERAL STORES SUPPLY OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, IN REFUSING TO MAKE AN AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO YOUR FIRM PURSUANT TO INVITATION NO. 155-/3/-6-1699-60.

THE INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING SPECIFIED QUANTITIES OF TWO TYPES OF FLUORESCENT LAMP BALLASTS, GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY PART NOS. 89G381 AND 9T39Y2962, OR EQUALS, ITEMS 1 AND 2, RESPECTIVELY. YOU SUBMITTED A BID OFFERING TO FURNISH, UNDER ITEM 1, UNIVERSAL MANUFACTURING COMPANY PART NO. 200-X AT A PRICE OF $0.895 EACH AND TO FURNISH UNDER ITEM 2, GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY PART NO. 9T39Y2962 AT A PRICE OF $21.47 EACH. YOUR BID AS TO ITEM 1 WAS REJECTED FOR THE REASON THAT THE LAMP BALLASTS OFFERED BY YOU DID NOT HAVE A COVER, SUCH COVER HAVING BEEN DETERMINED TO BE OF IMPORTANCE IN AFFORDING PROTECTION TO THE TRANSFORMER COIL. REGARD TO ITEM 2, YOUR BID AS TO THAT ITEM WAS REJECTED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON THE BASIS THAT IT HAD BEEN DETERMINED THAT YOU ARE NOT A RESPONSIBLE BIDDER, WHICH DETERMINATION WAS LATER SUBMITTED TO AND APPROVED BY THE CONTRACT REVIEW BOARD ON MARCH 7, 1960. THE LATTER DETERMINATION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS BASED ON A REPORT FROM THE INSPECTOR OF NAVAL MATERIAL, NEW YORK CITY, WHICH INDICATED THAT YOUR FIRM FREQUENTLY HAS BEEN DELINQUENT IN DELIVERIES TO OTHER NAVAL ACTIVITIES AND OTHER DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AGENCIES AND THAT YOUR FIRM MAINTAINS NO STATUS CONTROL OVER OPEN CONTRACTS TO ENSURE TIMELY DELIVERY. THE RECORD ALSO INDICATES THAT UNDER CONTRACT NO. N155-47462 DATED JULY 30, 1959, WHICH CONTRACT COVERED THE SAME ITEM AS COVERED BY ITEM 2 OF THE SUBJECT INVITATION, DELIVERIES WERE COMPLETED 40 DAYS AFTER THE DATE SPECIFIED IN THE CONTRACT. ON MARCH 7, 1960, ITEMS 1 AND 2 OF THE SUBJECT INVITATION WERE AWARDED TO MIDWAY ELECTRIC SUPPLY CO., INC.

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. YOU QUESTION THE CURRENT REJECTION OF YOUR BID ON THE GROUND OF NONRESPONSIBILITY BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT CERTAIN CONTRACTS WERE RECENTLY AWARDED TO YOU. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE REFERRED-TO CONTRACTS WERE PLACED WITH YOU FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING YOUR FIRM'S CURRENT CAPABILITY TO PERFORM UNDER THE CONTRACTS AND THAT THE FIRST OF THESE CONTRACTS, N155-50791, WAS COMPLETED BY YOU TWENTY-SIX DAYS AFTER THE DATE SPECIFIED IN THE CONTRACT.

ACCORDINGLY, WE FIND NO BASIS TO OBJECT TO THE AWARD MADE UNDER THE INSTANT INVITATION.