B-145544, JUN. 22, 1961

B-145544: Jun 22, 1961

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TO THE WHEEL-A-MATIC COMPANY OF AMERICA: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 5. THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED JANUARY 6. THE BID OPENING DATE WAS EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 14. THE ACCURACY REQUIREMENT OF THE TESTERS WAS CHANGED FROM FIVE-TENTHS OF 1 PERCENT TO 5 PERCENT. YOU STATE THAT AMENDMENT NO. 2 WAS RECEIVED BY YOU FEBRUARY 6. RECEIPT OF AMENDMENT NO. 2 WAS ACKNOWLEDGED AND YOU REQUESTED THAT THE DATE OF BID OPENING BE ADVANCED TO FEBRUARY 28 SINCE THE OWNER OF THE COMPANY WAS ON A BUSINESS TRIP AND WOULD NOT RETURN UNTIL FEBRUARY 21. YOUR LETTER WAS RECEIVED BY THE BUYER ON FEBRUARY 10 BUT NO REPLY WAS SENT TO YOU AND THE BID OPENING DATE WAS NOT EXTENDED BEYOND FEBRUARY 14.

B-145544, JUN. 22, 1961

TO THE WHEEL-A-MATIC COMPANY OF AMERICA:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 5, 1961, PROTESTING AGAINST THE AWARD TO ANOTHER BIDDER UNDER INVITATION NO. IFB-01-601-61-942 ISSUED BY BROOKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, ALABAMA.

THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED JANUARY 6, 1961, REQUESTING BIDS--- TO BE OPENED FEBRUARY 7, 1961--- FOR FURNISHING INCREMENTAL QUANTITIES, NOT EXCEEDING 240, OF WHEEL ALIGNMENT TESTERS. PARAGRAPHS 3.5 AND 4.3.2 OF THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION INCLUDED IN THE INVITATION STATED THAT THE ACCURACY OF THE TESTERS SHOULD BE WITHIN 0.5 PERCENT. BY AMENDMENT NO. 1 DATED JANUARY 27, 1961, THE BID OPENING DATE WAS EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 14, 1961. BY AMENDMENT NO. 2 DATED FEBRUARY 2, 1961, THE ACCURACY REQUIREMENT OF THE TESTERS WAS CHANGED FROM FIVE-TENTHS OF 1 PERCENT TO 5 PERCENT, SUCH CHANGE HAVING BEEN SUGGESTED BY ANOTHER BIDDER (BEAR MANUFACTURING COMPANY) IN ITS LETTER OF JANUARY 31, 1961. YOU STATE THAT AMENDMENT NO. 2 WAS RECEIVED BY YOU FEBRUARY 6.

BY YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 6, SIGNED BY A SECRETARY, TO THE BUYER AT BROOKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, RECEIPT OF AMENDMENT NO. 2 WAS ACKNOWLEDGED AND YOU REQUESTED THAT THE DATE OF BID OPENING BE ADVANCED TO FEBRUARY 28 SINCE THE OWNER OF THE COMPANY WAS ON A BUSINESS TRIP AND WOULD NOT RETURN UNTIL FEBRUARY 21. YOUR LETTER WAS RECEIVED BY THE BUYER ON FEBRUARY 10 BUT NO REPLY WAS SENT TO YOU AND THE BID OPENING DATE WAS NOT EXTENDED BEYOND FEBRUARY 14. YOU WERE NOT ADVISED AS TO THE REFUSAL TO MAKE THE REQUESTED EXTENSION UNTIL YOU TELEPHONED THE PURCHASING OFFICE ON FEBRUARY 17.

IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, YOU SUBMITTED A BID DATED FEBRUARY 7, 1961, IN THE AMOUNT OF $328.44 EACH FOR 190 TO 240 UNITS BASED ON THE ORIGINAL INVITATION. THE THREE OTHER BIDS RECEIVED WERE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $296.12 EACH (BEAR MANUFACTURING COMPANY), $309 EACH AND $328 EACH FOR 190 TO 240 UNITS. ON MARCH 31, 1961, AWARD WAS MADE TO BEAR MANUFACTURING COMPANY FOR 190 UNITS AT A TOTAL PRICE OF $57,165.06. ALTHOUGH YOU HAVE NOT STATED WHAT YOUR BID WOULD HAVE BEEN IF COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE AMENDED INVITATION, YOU INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 27, 1961, TO THE PURCHASING OFFICE, THAT YOUR BID WOULD HAVE BEEN LOWER THAN THE ACCEPTED BID.

OBVIOUSLY, YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 6, 1961, REQUESTING AN EXTENSION OF THE BID OPENING DATE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ANSWERED PROMPTLY--- A FACT WHICH IS ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE PURCHASING OFFICE AND WAS THE SUBJECT OF AN APOLOGY BY THAT OFFICE IN ITS LETTER TO YOU DATED MARCH 7, 1961.

PERHAPS THE MORE APPROPRIATE PROCEDURE IN THE INSTANT MATTER WOULD HAVE BEEN TO ADVANCE THE DATE OF THE BID OPENING AS REQUESTED BY YOU, ESPECIALLY SINCE THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN AMPLE TIME TO DO SO, AWARD NOT HAVING BEEN MADE UNTIL MARCH 31, OR 45 DAYS AFTER THE BID OPENING. BUT, WE CANNOT HOLD, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE, THAT THE FAILURE TO EXTEND THE OPENING TIME RENDERED THE PROCUREMENT INVALID.

IN THAT CONNECTION, THE TIME FROM YOUR RECEIPT OF AMENDMENT NO. 2 (FEBRUARY 6, 1961) TO THE DATE OF BID OPENING (FEBRUARY 14, 1961), ORDINARILY WOULD BE ADEQUATE FOR PREPARING AND SUBMITTING REVISED BIDS BASED ON THE AMENDED INVITATION, AND IN FACT THAT PERIOD OF TIME WAS SUFFICIENT FOR THOSE BIDDERS WHO WERE NOT OPERATING UNDER A HANDICAP SUCH AS THE ABSENCE OF KEY PERSONNEL. SEE 37 COMP. GEN. 577 IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT AN EXTENSION OF FOUR DAYS WAS SUFFICIENT, THERE BEING NO INDICATION THAT MORE BIDS WOULD HAVE BEEN RECEIVED IF MORE TIME HAD BEEN ALLOWED.

HAVING REGARD FOR ALL OF THE FACTS OF THE INSTANT MATTER, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THERE IS NO COMPELLING BASIS FOR DISTURBING THE AWARD AS MADE.