B-150658, MAY 6, 1963

B-150658: May 6, 1963

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J. HULMAN: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER AND TELEGRAM DATED JANUARY 17 AND 18. PROTESTING THAT YOUR FIRM WAS NOT AFFORDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVISE THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL SUBMITTED UNDER THE FIRST STEP OF AN AIR FORCE TWO-STEP PROCUREMENT DESIGNATED PURCHASE REQUEST RO- 300357. THE FIRST ENGINEERING SERVICE WHICH EVALUATED YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL CONCLUDED THAT IT WAS UNACCEPTABLE FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: A. THE QUOTATION "STANDARD MILITARY PARTS HAVE BEEN USED WHEREVER SIZE. PERFORMANCE OR ECONOMIC CONSIDERATION DOES NOT PRECLUDE THEIR USE" IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH MILITARY ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING PRACTICES AND IS THEREFORE NOT ACCEPTABLE TO THE AIR FORCE. D. THE USE OF AN EPPLEY STANDARD CELL FOR CHECKING VOLTMETER CALIBRATION IS UNACCEPTABLE.

B-150658, MAY 6, 1963

TO MR. J. HULMAN:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER AND TELEGRAM DATED JANUARY 17 AND 18, 1963, RESPECTIVELY, PROTESTING THAT YOUR FIRM WAS NOT AFFORDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVISE THE TECHNICAL PROPOSAL SUBMITTED UNDER THE FIRST STEP OF AN AIR FORCE TWO-STEP PROCUREMENT DESIGNATED PURCHASE REQUEST RO- 300357.

THE FIRST ENGINEERING SERVICE WHICH EVALUATED YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL CONCLUDED THAT IT WAS UNACCEPTABLE FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

A. THE QUOTATION "STANDARD MILITARY PARTS HAVE BEEN USED WHEREVER SIZE, PERFORMANCE OR ECONOMIC CONSIDERATION DOES NOT PRECLUDE THEIR USE" IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH MILITARY ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING PRACTICES AND IS THEREFORE NOT ACCEPTABLE TO THE AIR FORCE.

B. THE PROPOSAL DOES NOT PROVIDE ILLUMINATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WORK STATEMENT.

C. LAYOUT OF THE PROPOSED COMPONENTS IN AVAILABLE SPACE HAS NOT BEEN PRESENTED FOR EVALUATION.

D. THE USE OF AN EPPLEY STANDARD CELL FOR CHECKING VOLTMETER CALIBRATION IS UNACCEPTABLE. THIS CELL IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO PERMANENT EMF CHANGE WHEN TILTED EXCESSIVELY AND HAS A RATHER HIGH DECAY FACTOR DEPENDENT UPON THE NUMBER OF ITEMS USED.

SUBSEQUENT TO YOUR PROTEST TO OUR OFFICE, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REQUESTED A SECOND ENGINEERING SERVICE TO REVIEW THE FIRST TECHNICAL EVALUATION AND TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION IN THE REVIEW THE PROVISIONS OF ASPR 2-503.1 (B), PERTAINING TO THE EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL PROPOSALS. THE SECOND ENGINEERING SERVICE CONCLUDED THAT THE ORIGINAL ENGINEERING EVALUATION WAS SOUND.

HOWEVER, YOU POINT OUT THAT ASPR 2-503.1 (B) (V) PROVIDES THAT "PROPOSALS SHOULD NOT BE CATEGORIZED AS UNACCEPTABLE WHEN A REASONABLE EFFORT ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT COULD BRING THE PROPOSALS TO AN ACCEPTABLE STATUS AND INCREASE COMPETITION.' YOU CONTEND THAT A REASONABLE EFFORT ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE BEEN EXERCISED TO BRING YOUR PROPOSAL UP TO ACCEPTABILITY. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE PROCUREMENT OFFICIALS STATE THAT THE PROPOSAL WAS SO DEFICIENT AS TO BE TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE SO THAT NO FURTHER CONSIDERATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO IT.

WHETHER DEFICIENT TECHNICAL PROPOSALS ARE REASONABLY SUSCEPTIBLE OF BEING MADE ACCEPTABLE IS A MATTER OF JUDGMENT REQUIRING ENGINEERING KNOWLEDGE. SINCE WE DO NOT POSSESS ENGINEERING COMPETENCE, IN AREAS INVOLVING SUCH ABILITY WE GENERALLY DEFER TO THE DISCRETION AND JUDGMENT OF THE OFFICIALS IN THE PROCUREMENT AGENCIES. SEE 40 COMP. GEN. 35. IN THE CITED CASE PROCUREMENT OFFICIALS DETERMINED THAT A TECHNICAL PROPOSAL SUBMITTED IN A TWO-STEP PROCUREMENT WAS MATERIALLY DEFICIENT AND UNACCEPTABLE AND THE PROPONENT PROTESTED THAT IT WAS NOT OFFERED AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRING THE PROPOSAL UP TO STANDARD. IN CONSIDERING THE PROTEST, WE INDICATED THAT THE DETERMINATION OF ACCEPTABILITY OF TECHNICAL PROPOSALS IS VESTED IN THE PROCUREMENT OFFICIALS WHO ARE BEST QUALIFIED TO EVALUATE THEM AND THAT "IN ACCORDANCE WITH LONG-ESTABLISHED PRECEDENT, WE WILL NOT QUESTION THEIR DETERMINATION.' ID. AT 38. SEE ALSO 40 COMP. GEN. 40, 42.

THEREFORE, WHILE YOU MAY DISPUTE THE ADMINISTRATIVE FINDING AS TO WHETHER YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WAS REASONABLY SUSCEPTIBLE OF BEING MADE ACCEPTABLE, THE DETERMINATION OF THE PROCUREMENT OFFICIALS IS CONSIDERED DISPOSITIVE OF THE MATTER. IN VIEW THEREOF, WE DO NOT CONSIDER THAT ANY FURTHER ACTION IS REQUIRED BY OUR OFFICE IN THIS MATTER.