B-150058, OCT. 29, 1962

B-150058: Oct 29, 1962

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G-538722 WAS ISSUED BY THE U.S. THIS ACTION WAS BASED UPON AN ADMINISTRATIVE ESTIMATE THAT THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENT WOULD NOT INVOLVE AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF $2. PROPOSALS WERE OPENED ON JULY 31. FOUR PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED AND TABULATED AS FOLLOWS: TABLE BARBER-COLMAN CO. $24. DELIVERY WAS SPECIFIED AS "ASAP. IT IS REPORTED THAT AFTER THE OPENING. THE FIRMS SUBMITTING PROPOSALS WERE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO VIEW THE QUOTATIONS OF EACH OF THE OTHER FIRMS. WE ARE ADVISED THAT A POLICY HAS NOW BEEN INSTITUTED WHEREBY SUCH PRICE INFORMATION WILL NO LONGER BE DISCLOSED. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE PROPERLY CONCLUDED THAT THE "SMALL PURCHASE" AUTHORITY TO NEGOTIATE WAS NOT AVAILABLE TO EXEMPT THIS PROCUREMENT FROM THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENT FOR FORMAL ADVERTISING.

B-150058, OCT. 29, 1962

TO J. C. STOVER, CONTRACTING OFFICER, UNITED STATES ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 5, 1962 (REFERENCE EPR:JCS) REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION RELATIVE TO THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 451-63-11.

THE REPORTED FACTS GIVING RISE TO YOUR REQUEST MAY BE STATED AS FOLLOWS:

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS NO. G-538722 WAS ISSUED BY THE U.S. ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION, RICHLAND, WASHINGTON, ON JUNE 29, 1962, FOR THE PURCHASE OF FIVE MULTIPOINT MOISTURE RECORDERS. THIS ACTION WAS BASED UPON AN ADMINISTRATIVE ESTIMATE THAT THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENT WOULD NOT INVOLVE AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF $2,500, AND THAT A CONTRACT COULD THEREFORE BE NEGOTIATED WITHOUT FORMAL ADVERTISING.

PROPOSALS WERE OPENED ON JULY 31, 1962, AND FOUR PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED AND TABULATED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

BARBER-COLMAN CO. $24,165

THE BRISTOL COMPANY $24,965

LEEDS AND NORTHRUP COMPANY $27,625

MINNEAPOLIS-HONEYWELL

REGULATOR COMPANY $29,870

UNDER THE TERMS OF THE PROPOSAL, DELIVERY WAS SPECIFIED AS "ASAP," WITH EACH FIRM REQUIRED TO STATE ITS ESTIMATED TIME FOR DELIVERY.

IT IS REPORTED THAT AFTER THE OPENING, THE FIRMS SUBMITTING PROPOSALS WERE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO VIEW THE QUOTATIONS OF EACH OF THE OTHER FIRMS. WE ARE ADVISED THAT A POLICY HAS NOW BEEN INSTITUTED WHEREBY SUCH PRICE INFORMATION WILL NO LONGER BE DISCLOSED.

IN VIEW OF THE PRICE QUOTATIONS RECEIVED, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE PROPERLY CONCLUDED THAT THE "SMALL PURCHASE" AUTHORITY TO NEGOTIATE WAS NOT AVAILABLE TO EXEMPT THIS PROCUREMENT FROM THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENT FOR FORMAL ADVERTISING. ON SEPTEMBER 7, 1962, ALL THE FIRMS SUBMITTING PROPOSALS WERE NOTIFIED THAT THE REQUIREMENT STATED IN THE RFP WOULD BE PROCURED BY FORMAL ADVERTISING.

INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 451-63-11 WAS ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 7, 1962, AND MAILED ON SEPTEMBER 12, 1962, CALLING FOR THE SAME ITEMS AND UTILIZING THE SAME SPECIFICATIONS AS THE PRIOR RFP; HOWEVER A SPECIFIC DELIVERY PERIOD WAS INCLUDED.

THE BID OPENING WAS HELD ON SEPTEMBER 26, 1962, AND THREE BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND TABULATED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

THE BRISTOL COMPANY $23,565

BARBER-COLMAN COMPANY $24,165

LEEDS AND NORTHRUP COMPANY $27,625

IT IS NOTED THAT WHILE BARBER-COLMAN AND LEEDS AND NORTHRUP SUBMITTED IDENTICAL PRICES UNDER THE RFP AND THE INVITATION, BRISTOL SUBMITTED A LOWER PRICE THIS TIME. BARBER-COLMAN HAS PROTESTED TO YOUR OFFICE THAT AWARD SHOULD BE MADE UNDER THE RFP, AND THAT AN AWARD UNDER THE INVITATION WOULD BE UNFAIR BECAUSE THE BIDDERS WERE AWARE OF THE PRICES PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED.

WHILE IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT THE ORIGINAL QUOTATIONS WERE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE COMPETING FIRMS, THE ANTICIPATED BASIS FOR NEGOTIATION--- NAMELY, THAT THE PROCUREMENT WOULD INVOLVE NOT IN EXCESS OF $2,500--- WAS COMPLETELY WIPED OUT BY THE QUOTATIONS RECEIVED. WE HAVE HELD THAT WHERE THE AUTHORITY TO UNDERTAKE A NEGOTIATION DID NOT APPLY, THIS OFFICE COULD INTERPOSE NO VALID OBJECTION TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION TO CANCEL THE SOLICITATION AND ADVERTISE. 39 COMP. GEN. 94. ACCORDINGLY, YOU MAY PROPERLY MAKE AWARD UNDER THE INVITATION.

YOU REPORT THAT THE LOW BID SUBMITTED BY BRISTOL CONTAINS A TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR ON PAGE 1, SUBITEM 4, CHART CALIBRATION MINUS 30 TO PLUS 90 DEGREES F., BRISTOL CHART R4464, WHICH READS "110 DIVISIONS IN 11 INCHES.' YOU SAY THAT THIS SHOULD READ "120 DIVISIONS IN 11 INCHES" AS EVIDENCED BY BRISTOL CHART RANGE LIST Y1980, PAGE 6S, EXHIBIT N, WHICH LIST WAS NOT SUBMITTED WITH THE BID BUT IS CONTAINED IN THE HANFORD CATALOG FILES. SINCE CORRECTION OF OBVIOUS TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS MAY PROPERLY BE MADE BY THE CONTRACTING AUTHORITY, THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO CONSIDERATION OF THIS BID FOR PURPOSES OF THE AWARD.