B-15077, JAN. 3, 1964

B-15077: Jan 3, 1964

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TO THE GENERAL TIRE AND RUBBER COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 2. IT IS YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE LAMINATING EQUIPMENT NOW OWNED BY THE MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY IS OF SUCH SPECIAL DESIGN THAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN A PREVIOUS PROCUREMENT AS SPECIAL TOOLING AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN OFFERED TO ALL PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS ALIKE AS GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED EQUIPMENT IN SUBSEQUENT PROCUREMENTS. YOU HAVE SUGGESTED AS AN ALTERNATIVE. YOU SUGGEST THAT IT IS NECESSARY THAT THE GOVERNMENT FURNISH THE LAMINATING EQUIPMENT OR THE LAMINATED MATERIAL BECAUSE THE PURCHASE OF THE EQUIPMENT IS SO EXPENSIVE AS TO KEEP PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WHO DO NOT HAVE SUCH EQUIPMENT FROM COMPETING SUCCESSFULLY WITH MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES WITH THE RESULT THAT IT IS WORKING ITSELF INTO A NON COMPETITIVE SITUATION THAT MAY ULTIMATELY BE TO THE DISADVANTAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT.

B-15077, JAN. 3, 1964

TO THE GENERAL TIRE AND RUBBER COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 2, 1963, AND PREVIOUS CORRESPONDENCE, PROTESTING THE MANNER IN WHICH THE ARMY HAS BEEN PROCURING CERTAIN PROTECTIVE MASKS.

ESSENTIALLY, IT IS YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE LAMINATING EQUIPMENT NOW OWNED BY THE MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY IS OF SUCH SPECIAL DESIGN THAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN A PREVIOUS PROCUREMENT AS SPECIAL TOOLING AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN OFFERED TO ALL PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS ALIKE AS GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED EQUIPMENT IN SUBSEQUENT PROCUREMENTS. HAVING FAILED TO DO SO, YOU HAVE SUGGESTED AS AN ALTERNATIVE, THE POSSIBILITY OF THE LAMINATED FILTER MATERIAL BEING FURNISHED BY THE ARMY IN PRESENT AND FUTURE PROCUREMENTS. YOU SUGGEST THAT IT IS NECESSARY THAT THE GOVERNMENT FURNISH THE LAMINATING EQUIPMENT OR THE LAMINATED MATERIAL BECAUSE THE PURCHASE OF THE EQUIPMENT IS SO EXPENSIVE AS TO KEEP PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WHO DO NOT HAVE SUCH EQUIPMENT FROM COMPETING SUCCESSFULLY WITH MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES WITH THE RESULT THAT IT IS WORKING ITSELF INTO A NON COMPETITIVE SITUATION THAT MAY ULTIMATELY BE TO THE DISADVANTAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT.

WHILE YOU HAVE CONTENDED THAT THE LAMINATING EQUIPMENT IS SPECIAL TOOLING THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR USE IN SUBSEQUENT PROCUREMENTS, THE ARMY HAS TAKEN THE POSITION THAT THE LAMINATING EQUIPMENT IS NOT SPECIAL TOOLING, BUT IS CAPITAL EQUIPMENT NOT ACQUIRED UNDER EXISTING GOVERNMENT POLICY. THE ARMY HAS SUPPORTED ITS POSITION THAT THE EQUIPMENT IS CAPITAL IN TYPE BY A LETTER FROM MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES. THE LETTER STATES THAT THE LAMINATING EQUIPMENT IS CAPITALIZED ON THE COMPANY'S BOOKS AS A PART OF ITS MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT ACCOUNT ON A DEPRECIATION BASIS FOR A 12-1/2 YEAR PERIOD. FURTHER, THE LETTER STATES THAT THE LAMINATING EQUIPMENT HAS PRODUCTION CAPABILITIES FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF FILTERING COMPONENTS FOR RESPIRATORY PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT, SPACE FILTERS, FLUID PURIFICATION EQUIPMENT AND RELATED COMMERCIAL ITEMS PRODUCED IN THE COMPANY'S NORMAL BUSINESS.

AS TO YOUR SUGGESTION THAT THE ARMY RESUME FURNISHING THE LAMINATED MATERIAL AS IT HAD DONE IN EARLIER PROCUREMENTS, THE ARMY HAS ADVISED THAT IT CONSIDERS THAT METHOD UNDESIRABLE BECAUSE OF THE UNSATISFACTORY EXPERIENCE IT ENCOUNTERED WHEN IT PREVIOUSLY PURSUED THAT POLICY.

HOWEVER, AS A RESULT OF THE RECEIPT OF A SINGLE BID IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS AMC/A/-18-035-64-336, COVERING A PROCUREMENT FOR THE M17 PROTECTIVE MASK, THE ARMY HAS INDICATED THAT IT WILL THOROUGHLY STUDY THE MATTER TO SEE WHAT CAN BE DONE TO OBTAIN ADDITIONAL BIDS IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS OF THAT ARTICLE. IN THE MEANTIME, THE ARMY HAS PROPOSED MAKING AN AWARD ON THE BASIS OF THE SINGLE BID RECEIVED FROM MINE SAFETY APPLIANCES COMPANY SINCE THE BID OF $8.87 PER UNIT IS THE LOWEST PRICE EVER OFFERED TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE M17 MASK AND IT SEEMS TO BE MOST REASONABLE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, OUR OFFICE PERCEIVES NO LEGAL BASIS FOR OBJECTING TO THE PAST ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION NOR TO THE PROPOSED AWARD. ACCORDINGLY, NO FURTHER ACTION WILL BE TAKEN BY OUR OFFICE IN THIS MATTER.