B-143289, NOV. 28, 1960

B-143289: Nov 28, 1960

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ESQUIRE: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 21. YOU CONTEND THAT THE FUCHS TRANSFER COMPANY WAS. NOT GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO BID ON THE MOVE AND THAT THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING WAS A "SHAM.'. WERE SOLICITED FROM 31 TRANSFER COMPANIES. FIVE BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED ON DECEMBER 18. THE DAVIDSON TRANSFER AND STORAGE COMPANY WAS LOW BIDDER AT $136. THE FUCHS TRANSFER COMPANY WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE 33 TRANSFER COMPANIES GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO BID ON THIS PROJECT. WE BELIEVE THE DENIAL WAS NOT INTENTIONAL. WAS THE RESULT OF POOR ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICES. TO BE PLACED ON THE BOASI BIDDER'S LIST WAS FORWARDED TO THE GSA OFFICE THAT USUALLY HANDLED BOASI'S MOVES. ANSWERED THE LETTER AND ASSURED FUCHS TRANSFER COMPANY THEY WERE ON THE BOASI BIDDER'S LIST.

B-143289, NOV. 28, 1960

TO SHELDON H. BRAITERMAN, ESQUIRE:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 21, 1960, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, CONCERNING THE CONTRACT AWARDED BY THE BUREAU OF OLD-AGE AND SURVIVORS INSURANCE (BOASI) FOR TRANSPORTING GOVERNMENT PERSONAL PROPERTY FROM VARIOUS BUILDINGS IN DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE TO THE NEW SOCIAL SECURITY BUILDING IN BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND.

YOU CONTEND THAT THE FUCHS TRANSFER COMPANY WAS, IN AN UNFAIR MANNER, NOT GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO BID ON THE MOVE AND THAT THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING WAS A "SHAM.'

THE OFFICIAL FILES SHOW THAT ON DECEMBER 7, 1959, BIDS TO MOVE FURNITURE, EQUIPMENT, AND SUPPLIES OF BOASI FROM DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE TO ITS NEW HEADQUARTERS, SECURITY BOULEVARD AND GWYNN OAK AVENUE, WOODLAWN, BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND, WERE SOLICITED FROM 31 TRANSFER COMPANIES. AT A LATER DATE, TWO ADDITIONAL TRANSFER COMPANIES REQUESTED BID FORMS FROM BOASI. THEREAFTER, BOASI CONDUCTED A TOUR OF THE DOWNTOWN LOCATIONS AND THE NEW BUILDING FOR SEVEN PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS ON DECEMBER 10, 1959, AND FOR TWO OTHERS AT A LATER DATE. FIVE BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED ON DECEMBER 18, 1959. THE DAVIDSON TRANSFER AND STORAGE COMPANY WAS LOW BIDDER AT $136,175. ON DECEMBER 22, 1959, BOASI ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT WITH THE DAVIDSON COMPANY AT THE BID PRICE.

THE FUCHS TRANSFER COMPANY WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE 33 TRANSFER COMPANIES GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO BID ON THIS PROJECT, EVEN THOUGH THEY MADE MANY REQUESTS TO VARIOUS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO BE PLACED ON THE BIDDER'S LISTS. BASED ON THE INFORMATION OBTAINED, WE BELIEVE THE DENIAL WAS NOT INTENTIONAL, BUT WAS THE RESULT OF POOR ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICES.

PRIOR TO THIS CONTRACT, THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA),SOLICITED QUOTATIONS AND SELECTED THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER FOR LARGE MOVEMENTS OF BOASI PROPERTY. HENCE, BOASI DID NOT MAINTAIN BIDDERS' LISTS FOR MOVING CONTRACTORS. BECAUSE OF THIS PRACTICE, THE FIRST REQUEST OF THE FUCHS TRANSFER COMPANY, DATED FEBRUARY 21, 1958, TO BE PLACED ON THE BOASI BIDDER'S LIST WAS FORWARDED TO THE GSA OFFICE THAT USUALLY HANDLED BOASI'S MOVES. BOASI, HOWEVER, ANSWERED THE LETTER AND ASSURED FUCHS TRANSFER COMPANY THEY WERE ON THE BOASI BIDDER'S LIST. WE BELIEVE THE LETTER SHOULD HAVE STATED THAT THE REQUEST WAS REFERRED TO GSA, RATHER THAN TO IMPLY THAT FUCHS HAD BEEN PLACED ON A BIDDER'S LIST MAINTAINED BY BOASI.

RECORDS OF THE SUBSEQUENT REQUESTS OF THE FUCHS TRANSFER COMPANY COULD NOT BE LOCATED IN THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER'S FILES. THAT OFFICER DID NOT RECALL WHETHER HE HAD FORWARDED THEM TO GSA ALSO, OR WHETHER HE HAD DESTROYED THEM. HE STATED THAT HE PROBABLY DESTROYED THEM BECAUSE HE HAD ALREADY REFERRED ONE TO GSA AND DID NOT BELIEVE ADDITIONAL REFERRALS WERE NECESSARY. WE DID NOT LOCATE ANY OF THESE REQUESTS IN THE GSA FILES. THE DISPOSITION OF THESE REQUESTS WITHOUT RECORDING THE ACTION OR ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR RECEIPT, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE CONSIDERED TO BE DUPLICATE REQUESTS, WAS, IN OUR OPINION, A POOR MANAGEMENT PRACTICE.

THE SELECTION OF THE COMPANIES TO BE SENT INVITATIONS TO BID WAS MADE BY A PURCHASING AGENT IN THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE. ACCORDING TO THIS AGENT, HE SELECTED POTENTIAL BIDDERS BY LOOKING IN THE ,YELLOW PAGES" OF THE TELEPHONE DIRECTORY UNDER "MOVERS," BECAUSE THERE WAS NO BOASI BIDDER'S LIST FOR MOVING CONTRACTORS, AND THAT THIS WAS THE ONLY MANNER HE KNEW TO SELECT PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS IN THIS FIELD. IT WAS EVIDENT THAT HE WAS UNFAMILIAR WITH THE RELATIVE MERITS OF MOVING CONTRACTORS IN THE BALTIMORE AREA OR WITH THE PREVIOUS REQUESTS MADE BY THE FUCHS TRANSFER COMPANY. SINCE THE FUCHS TRANSFER COMPANY WAS NOT LISTED IN THE "YELLOW PAGES" UNDER "MOVERS," IT WAS NOT SELECTED UNDER THIS METHOD OF CHOOSING PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS.

OUR REVIEW DID NOT DISCLOSE ANY IRREGULARITIES EITHER IN THE SOLICITATION OF BIDS OR IN THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT. CONSIDERING THE COMPETITION GENERATED, AND THE FACT THAT AWARD WAS MADE TO THE LOWEST BIDDER, WE FIND NO BASIS TO QUESTION THE CONTRACT OR ITS EXECUTION. IT IS REGRETTABLE THAT, BY REASON OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OUTLINED ABOVE, FUCHS WAS NOT GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO BID. HOWEVER, WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT THE COMPANY IS PRESENTLY ON THE BIDDER'S LIST AND PRESUMABLY WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR FUTURE PROCUREMENT ACTIONS.