B-144990, MAR. 1, 1961

B-144990: Mar 1, 1961

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IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE BID WAS RECEIVED AFTER THE TIME FOR OPENING OF BIDS. AMENDMENT NO. 3 TO THE INVITATION THE BID OPENING WAS SET FOR 2:00 P.M. AS THE LOCATION OF THE BASE PROCUREMENT DIVISION AND IT WAS INDICATED THAT THE BID OPENING WOULD TAKE PLACE IN THAT BUILDING. THE BASE PROCUREMENT DIVISION OFFICE WAS MOVED TO BUILDING NO. 3A. THE INVITATION WAS NOT AMENDED TO INDICATE A CHANGE OF LOCATION TO BUILDING NO. 3A. IT IS REPORTED THAT AS OF 1:30 P.M. WAS CALLED AT 1:30 P.M. STATED THAT A GROUP OF 5 OR 6 BIDDERS WERE AT HER DESK ASKING WHERE TO SUBMIT THEIR BIDS. THEY WERE IN A QUANDARY BECAUSE THEY HAD FOLLOWED THE GUARD'S DIRECTIONS AND WALKED FROM GATE NO. 4 TO BUILDING 3A (A DISTANCE OF APPROXIMATELY 1.

B-144990, MAR. 1, 1961

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

WE REFER TO A LETTER OF FEBRUARY 2, 1961, FROM THE DEPUTY FOR PROCUREMENT AND PRODUCTION, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE BID OF THE PARK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 33- 604-61-494 MAY BE CONSIDERED, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE BID WAS RECEIVED AFTER THE TIME FOR OPENING OF BIDS.

THE INVITATION, ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1960, BY THE BASE PROCUREMENT DIVISION, DIRECTORATE OF PROCUREMENT AND PRODUCTION, DAYTON AIR FORCE DEPOT, CALLED FOR THE ERECTION OF A DEMOUNTABLE STEEL BUILDING. AMENDMENT NO. 3 TO THE INVITATION THE BID OPENING WAS SET FOR 2:00 P.M., NOVEMBER 15, 1960. THE INVITATION SPECIFIED BUILDING NO. 5, DAYTON AIR FORCE DEPOT, AS THE LOCATION OF THE BASE PROCUREMENT DIVISION AND IT WAS INDICATED THAT THE BID OPENING WOULD TAKE PLACE IN THAT BUILDING. THEREAFTER, SUBSEQUENT TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE INVITATION BUT PRIOR TO THE DATE SET FOR THE BID OPENING, THE BASE PROCUREMENT DIVISION OFFICE WAS MOVED TO BUILDING NO. 3A, DAYTON AIR FORCE DEPOT. THE INVITATION WAS NOT AMENDED TO INDICATE A CHANGE OF LOCATION TO BUILDING NO. 3A, THE NEW PLACE FOR THE BID OPENING.

IT IS REPORTED THAT AS OF 1:30 P.M. ON NOVEMBER 15, THE DATE SET FOR BID OPENING, NO BIDS (OF THE 42 BIDS INVITED) HAD BEEN RECEIVED IN THE BASE PROCUREMENT OFFICE. AT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S INSTRUCTION, THE GUARD AT THE VISITOR'S GATE (GATE NO. 4) DAYTON AIR FORCE DEPOT, WAS CALLED AT 1:30 P.M. AND INSTRUCTED TO SEND ALL BIDDERS ON THE SUBJECT INVITATION DIRECT TO THE BASE PROCUREMENT OFFICE IN BUILDING 3A INSTEAD OF DIRECTING THEM TO BUILDING NO. 5 AS SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION. THE RECEPTIONIST FOR THE DIRECTORATE OF PROCUREMENT AND PRODUCTION, LOCATED IN BUILDING 1A, PHONED THE BASE PROCUREMENT OFFICE AT 1:45 P.M., AND STATED THAT A GROUP OF 5 OR 6 BIDDERS WERE AT HER DESK ASKING WHERE TO SUBMIT THEIR BIDS. THEY WERE IN A QUANDARY BECAUSE THEY HAD FOLLOWED THE GUARD'S DIRECTIONS AND WALKED FROM GATE NO. 4 TO BUILDING 3A (A DISTANCE OF APPROXIMATELY 1,400 FEET), AND ASKED A TYPIST IN BUILDING 3A FOR THE LOCATION OF THE BID OPENING OFFICE. THIS TYPIST, WHO WAS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THE BASE PROCUREMENT OFFICE, ERRONEOUSLY THOUGHT THAT ALL IFS'S WERE OPENED IN BUILDING 1, TOLD THESE MEN TO REPORT TO THE RECEPTIONIST IN BUILDING 1A (A DISTANCE OF APPROXIMATELY 1,200 FEET). THE RECEPTIONIST ADVISED THESE BIDDERS TO RETURN TO BUILDING 3A AND ASK FOR THE BASE PROCUREMENT OFFICE. THESE BIDDERS ARRIVED AT THE BASE PROCUREMENT OFFICE AT APPROXIMATELY 1:50 P.M., AND ANOTHER GROUP OF BIDDERS ARRIVED FIVE MINUTES LATER. AT 2:00 P.M., THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ANNOUNCED THAT THE TIME HAD ARRIVED FOR THE OPENING OF THE SUBJECT INVITATION AND THAT LATE BIDS, EXCEPT FOR LATE ACCEPTABLE MAILED BIDS, WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD JUST FINISHED READING THE PRICE OF ITEM NO. 1 FROM THE FIRST BID TO BE OPENED WHEN A BASE PROCUREMENT CLERK TYPIST WALKED INTO THE BID OPENING ROOM AT APPROXIMATELY :04 P.M. WITH A SEALED ENVELOPE WHICH SHE SAID CONTAINED A BID FROM THE PARK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, OF DAYTON, OHIO. SHE SAID THAT A MAN GAVE HER THE SEALED ENVELOPE ABOUT A HALF A MINUTE EARLIER AND ASKED HER TO DELIVER IT TO THE BID-OPENING ROOM. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ACCEPTED AND READ THE LATE HAND CARRIED BID OF PARK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, WHICH HE REPORTS IS THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED UNDER THE EVALUATION CRITERIA SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION.

PARK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY EMPLOYEE MR. CARL STALLMAN STATES THAT HE ARRIVED AT GATE NO. 4 WITH THE BID AT APPROXIMATELY 1:52 P.M. ON NOVEMBER 15, 1960, AND THAT HE WAS DIRECTED TO THE PREVIOUS LOCATION OF THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE. FROM THAT BUILDING HE WAS THEN DIRECTED TO THE PROPER PLACE FOR THE BID OPENING BY AN UNIDENTIFIED DEPOT EMPLOYEE. HOWEVER, THE BID WAS NOT RECEIVED THERE UNTIL 2:04 P.M. IN THIS REGARD IT IS REPORTED THAT THE DEPOT VISITOR'S PASS ISSUED TO MR. STALLMAN INDICATES THAT HE ENTERED THE DEPOT GATE AT 2:00 P.M. ON NOVEMBER 15, 1960, AND LEFT THROUGH THE SAME GATE AT 2:10 P.M. ON THE SAME DATE. IT SHOULD BE NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT 2:00 P.M. ON NOVEMBER 15, 1960, WAS THE HOUR FOR CHANGING GUARDS AT GATE 4, AND MR. STALLMAN WAS SIGNED IN BY GUARD NO. 28 AND SIGNED OUT BY GUARD NO. 7. THE GATE GUARD WHO WAS ON DUTY AT THE TIME OF MR. STALLMAN'S ARRIVAL STATED THAT HE USUALLY MADE THE TIME NOTATIONS ON PASSES AFTER CONSULTING HIS WRIST WATCH. THERE IS NOT REPORTED EVIDENCE CONCERNING THE ACCURACY OF EITHER GUARD'S WATCH AT THE TIME. ALSO, IT HAS NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED WHICH EMPLOYEE MAY HAVE ACCOMPANIED MR. STALLMAN TO THE PLACE OF OPENING.

AT THE TIME HE RECEIVED THE LATE BID, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONSIDERED THAT THERE WAS NO POSSIBILITY OF FRAUD CONNECTED WITH THE LATE BID, AND DUE TO THE CONFUSION WITHIN THE LAST HALF HOUR CREATED BY THE RE-LOCATION OF THE BASE PROCUREMENT OFFICE, HE ACCEPTED AND READ THE BID. WE THINK THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ACTED PROPERLY. IT IS TRUE THAT THE EVIDENCE HERE IS SOMEWHAT CONFLICTING. HOWEVER, IT SEEMS PROBABLE THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS THE PRIME CAUSE FOR THE LATE BID BECAUSE OF THE CONFUSION SURROUNDING THE UNANNOUNCED CHANGE IN PLACE OF BID OPENING. CONSEQUENTLY AND SINCE IN THIS CASE THE BID WAS RECEIVED AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE BID READING, AND IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE RIGHTS OF THE OTHER BIDDERS WERE PREJUDICED BY THE FAILURE TO HAVE THE BID RECEIVED AT THE DESIGNATED TIME, WE PERCEIVE NO OBJECTION TO CONSIDERATION OF THE LATE BID OF PARK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY UNDER THE SUBJECT INVITATION. SEE 36 COMP. GEN. 1.