B-146277, OCT. 9, 1961

B-146277: Oct 9, 1961

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LETTER OF AUGUST 31. THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED MAY 12. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE ALTERNATE BIDS WERE REQUIRED IN ORDER TO ASCERTAIN WHAT ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT WERE AVAILABLE AND THE RELATIVE COSTS OF THE VARIOUS ITEMS. FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED. AERO SERVICE CORPORATION WAS LOW BIDDER ON ITEMS NOS. 1 AND 5A ($59. WHICH WERE FIVE DIGIT INPUT MACHINES. WAS LOW ON ITEMS NOS. 1C AND 5B ($92. WHICH WERE SIX DIGIT INPUT MACHINES. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE PROCURING OFFICE HAS DETERMINED THAT ITEMS 1C AND 5B COVER THE EQUIPMENT BEST MEETING THE GOVERNMENT REQUIREMENTS AND CONTEMPLATES MAKING AWARD TO CONCORD CONTROL. AERO SERVICE CORPORATION STATED THAT AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED AT ITS SUGGESTION TO CLARIFY A DISCREPANCY.

B-146277, OCT. 9, 1961

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LETTER OF AUGUST 31, 1961, WITH ITS ENCLOSURES, IN RESPONSE TO OUR REQUEST FOR A REPORT RELATIVE TO THE PROTEST OF AERO SERVICE CORPORATION, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, AGAINST AWARD TO ANY OTHER BIDDER UNDER INVITATION NO. IFB 23-601-61-60 ISSUED BY THE BASE PROCUREMENT OFFICE, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI.

THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED MAY 12, 1961, REQUESTING BIDS--- TO BE OPENED JUNE 12, 1961--- FOR FURNISHING TWO DIGITAL POINT PLOTTERS AND ONE DIGITAL POINT AND LINE PLOTTER. ITEMS NOS. 1, 1A, 1B AND 1C SOLICITED ALTERNATE BIDS FOR POINT PLOTTERS DIFFERING IN THEIR DIGITAL INPUT AND THE SIZE OF THEIR PLOTTING AREAS. ITEMS NOS. 5, 5A, 5B AND 5C SOLICITED ALTERNATE BIDS ON POINT AND LINE PLOTTERS DIFFERING IN THEIR DIGITAL INPUT AND THE SIZE OF THEIR PLOTTING AREAS. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE ALTERNATE BIDS WERE REQUIRED IN ORDER TO ASCERTAIN WHAT ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT WERE AVAILABLE AND THE RELATIVE COSTS OF THE VARIOUS ITEMS. THE INVITATION RESERVED TO THE GOVERNMENT THE RIGHT TO REJECT ANY AND ALL BIDS.

FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED. AERO SERVICE CORPORATION WAS LOW BIDDER ON ITEMS NOS. 1 AND 5A ($59,855 EACH AND $75,035 EACH, RESPECTIVELY), WHICH WERE FIVE DIGIT INPUT MACHINES, BUT SUBMITTED NO BID ON SIX DIGIT INPUT MACHINES. THE BID OF CONCORD CONTROL, INC., WAS LOW ON ITEMS NOS. 1C AND 5B ($92,800 EACH AND $123,800 EACH, RESPECTIVELY), WHICH WERE SIX DIGIT INPUT MACHINES. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE PROCURING OFFICE HAS DETERMINED THAT ITEMS 1C AND 5B COVER THE EQUIPMENT BEST MEETING THE GOVERNMENT REQUIREMENTS AND CONTEMPLATES MAKING AWARD TO CONCORD CONTROL, INC. ON THOSE ITEMS.

IN ITS LETTER OF JUNE 28, 1961, TO THE PROCURING OFFICE PROTESTING AWARD TO ANY OTHER BIDDER, AERO SERVICE CORPORATION STATED THAT AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED AT ITS SUGGESTION TO CLARIFY A DISCREPANCY. IT STATED FURTHER THAT SINCE THE SPECIFICATIONS DID NOT CLEARLY SET OUT THE GOVERNMENT REQUIREMENTS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CORPORATION DISCUSSED THE MATTER WITH THE PROCURING OFFICE AND UNDERSTOOD THAT THE GOVERNMENT DESIRED FIVE DIGIT INPUT MACHINES. AERO SERVICE CORPORATION STATED FURTHER IN ITS LETTER THAT ITS PROPOSAL "COULD HAVE BEEN BASED UPON THE SYSTEMS WHICH THE GOVERNMENT, AFTER BID OPENING, INDICATED THAT THEY WANTED.'

IN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S STATEMENT OF FACTS DATED AUGUST 8, 1961, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT AWARD BE MADE TO CONCORD CONTROL, INC., "IF AT ALL LEGALLY POSSIBLE.' HOWEVER, IN HIS STATEMENT THERE IS NOTED THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH:

"AFTER RECEIVING THE FORMAL PROTEST AND FURTHER REVIEWING THE INVITATION FOR BID, IT WAS NOTED AT THIS TIME THAT THE GOVERNMENT, ALTHOUGH WITHIN ITS RIGHTS IN ISSUING AN INVITATION FOR BID WITH VARIOUS ALTERNATES, FAILED TO INDICATE ON THE INVITATION FOR BID THE MANNER IN WHICH THE AWARD WAS TO BE MADE. IT WAS THE OPINION OF THE UNDERSIGNED THAT SINCE THE GOVERNMENT WAS IN ERROR IN NOT SHOWING THE MANNER IN WHICH THE AWARD WAS TO BE MADE, THE ONLY PROPER SOLUTION TO THIS MATTER WOULD BE TO CANCEL THE INVITATION FOR BID AND READVERTISE.'

THE FILE INCLUDES ALSO A PROTEST BY ELECTRONIC ASSOCIATES, INC., LONG BRANCH, NEW JERSEY, BASED ON ITS CONTENTION THAT IT WAS NOT GIVEN A PROPER OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT A BID. IN ITS LETTER OF JUNE 27, 1961, TO THE PROCUREMENT OFFICER, IT IS STATED:

"EAI DEFINITELY QUALIFIES AS AN OFFER OR SINCE TECHNICAL PERSONNEL OF ACIC, ON APRIL 6, 1961, REQUESTED AN UNSOLICITED PROPOSAL FROM MR. MCVEY OF OUR MT. PROSPECT OFFICE ON THE EQUIPMENT SUBSEQUENTLY COVERED IN IFB 23 -601-61-60. WE COMPLIED WITH THIS REQUEST AND SUBMITTED A PROPOSAL AND OUR QUOTATION NO. 15897. WE HAVE REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS OF IFB 23-601-61-60 DREW HEAVILY FROM THE EQUIPMENT OFFERED IN THIS PROPOSAL. AT THAT TIME. MR. MCVEY WAS TOLD THAT EAI WOULD BE ALLOWED TO SUBMIT A BID. ON MAY 16 MR. MCVEY AND MR. G. GRABER (ALSO OF EAI) VISITED ACIC AND SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED THAT EAI BE PLACED ON THE BIDDERS' LIST. THEY WERE ASSURED WE WOULD RECEIVE SPECIFICATIONS, WITH A REQUEST TO BID, THROUGH THE MAIL.'

HAVING REGARD FOR THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES ABOVE SET FORTH, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE SERVED BY CANCELLATION OF INVITATION NO. IFB 23-601-61-60 AND READVERTISING IN ORDER THAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY PROCURE SUITABLE EQUIPMENT AT A PRICE RESULTING FROM COMPETITIVE BIDS SUBMITTED BY ALL INTERESTED BIDDERS. SEE 37 COMP. GEN. 760; 38 ID. 235.

THE FILE TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LETTER OF AUGUST 31, 1961, IS RETURNED HEREWITH.