B-151063, APR. 24, 1963

B-151063: Apr 24, 1963

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THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED ON NOVEMBER 16. BIDS WERE REQUESTED ON 6. 800 REAMS OF CHEMICAL WOOD MAP PAPER AND THE BID OPENING WAS HELD. AT THAT TIME FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND TABULATED. IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE RECEIVED A TELEPHONE CALL FROM THE MAIL ROOM ADVISING THAT THEY WERE HOLDING AN ENVELOPE FROM THE HAWTHORNE PAPER COMPANY WHICH BORE A SEALED BID STICKER CONTAINING REFERENCE TO THE SUBJECT INVITATION. (WE ARE ADVISED THAT THE MAIL ROOM IS LOCATED IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE.). IT WAS NOTED. THAT THE ENVELOPE WAS NOT TIME-STAMPED BY THE MAIL ROOM. THE ENVELOPE WAS RETURNED TO THE MAIL ROOM FOR TIME-STAMPING. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONCLUDED THAT THE HAWTHORNE BID WAS RECEIVED IN SUFFICIENT TIME TO BE CONSIDERED AS A LATE ACCEPTABLE BID IN ACCORDANCE WITH ASPR 2-303-2 (III) (B).

B-151063, APR. 24, 1963

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR DEPARTMENT'S REPORT OF APRIL 9, 1963 (REFERENCE AFSPPCA), CONCERNING THE ACCEPTABILITY OF A LATE BID FROM HAWTHORNE PAPER COMPANY FOR AWARD UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 23-601-63-26.

THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED ON NOVEMBER 16, 1962, BY THE AERONAUTICAL CHART AND INFORMATION CENTER, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI. BIDS WERE REQUESTED ON 6,800 REAMS OF CHEMICAL WOOD MAP PAPER AND THE BID OPENING WAS HELD, AS SCHEDULED, ON DECEMBER 17, 1962, AT 9:00 A.M., C.S.T., IN THE BASE PROCUREMENT OFFICE. AT THAT TIME FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND TABULATED. IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE RECEIVED A TELEPHONE CALL FROM THE MAIL ROOM ADVISING THAT THEY WERE HOLDING AN ENVELOPE FROM THE HAWTHORNE PAPER COMPANY WHICH BORE A SEALED BID STICKER CONTAINING REFERENCE TO THE SUBJECT INVITATION. THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE IMMEDIATELY SENT A MESSENGER TO THE MAIL ROOM WHO RETURNED WITH THE ENVELOPE (APPARENTLY AT 9:25 A.M.). (WE ARE ADVISED THAT THE MAIL ROOM IS LOCATED IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE.) IT WAS NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT THE ENVELOPE WAS NOT TIME-STAMPED BY THE MAIL ROOM, CONTRARY TO THE USUAL PROCEDURE IN THE CASE OF ENVELOPES IDENTIFIED AS BID ENVELOPES. THE ENVELOPE WAS RETURNED TO THE MAIL ROOM FOR TIME-STAMPING, AND A SECOND TIME RETURNED TO THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE, THIS TIME BEARING A NOTATION WHICH INDICATED RECEIPT IN THE MAIL ROOM AT APPROXIMATELY 8:20 A.M.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONCLUDED THAT THE HAWTHORNE BID WAS RECEIVED IN SUFFICIENT TIME TO BE CONSIDERED AS A LATE ACCEPTABLE BID IN ACCORDANCE WITH ASPR 2-303-2 (III) (B), WHICH AUTHORIZES THE CONSIDERATION OF LATE- MAILED BIDS FOR AWARD IN CASES WHERE THE LATE BID IS RECEIVED BEFORE AWARD AND THE LATENESS IS DUE TO MISHANDLING ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT AT THE INSTALLATION. HE OPENED AND EVALUATED THE HAWTHORNE BID, AND IT WAS FOUND TO BE THE LOW BID. THE BID, HOWEVER, HAD BEEN SENT BY REGULAR MAIL RATHER THAN BY CERTIFIED OR REGISTERED MAIL, AND THE INVITATION CONTAINED THE LATE BID CLAUSE PRESCRIBED FOR USE BY ASPR 2-201 (A) (XXV) AND (XXVII), REVISION 9, APRIL 15, 1962, TO THE EFFECT THAT NO LATE-MAILED BID MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD UNLESS IT WAS MAILED BY CERTIFIED OR REGISTERED MAIL. AS A RESULT, AWARD OF THE CONTRACT IS BEING HELD IN ABEYANCE.

IN OUR DECISION OF MARCH 22, 1963, B-150514, WE CONCLUDED THAT A REGULARLY MAILED LATE BID (NEITHER REGISTERED NOR CERTIFIED) WHICH IS ELIGIBLE FOR AWARD CONSIDERATION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ASPR 2-303.2 (III) (B) MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD IRRESPECTIVE OF AN INVITATION PROVISION THAT NO LATE-MAILED BID MAY BE CONSIDERED UNLESS IT WAS MAILED BY CERTIFIED OR REGISTERED MAIL. CONSEQUENTLY, THE HAWTHORNE BID IS NOT INELIGIBLE FOR CONSIDERATION MERELY BECAUSE IT WAS NOT MAILED BY CERTIFIED OR REGISTERED MAIL. IT MAY BE CONSIDERED IF IT WAS MISHANDLED WITHIN THE MEANING OF ASPR 2.303.2.

YOUR DEPARTMENT BELIEVES THAT THE HAWTHORNE BID WAS MISHANDLED WITHIN THE MEANING OF ASPR 2-303.2. WE AGREE. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE TIME-STAMP SHOWN ON A BID ENVELOPE AT THIS INSTALLATION INDICATES THE TIME WHEN THE MAIL SACK IS RECEIVED IN THE MAIL ROOM RATHER THAN WHEN THE ENVELOPE IS ACTUALLY PROCESSED. UNDER NORMAL OPERATION MAIL IS DELIVERED BY MAIL TRUCK AT THE INSTALLATION MAIL ROOM AT APPROXIMATELY 8:15 OR 8:20 A.M. THE MAIL IS SORTED AND DISTRIBUTED TO DIVISION MAIL BOXES BY THREE MAIL CLERKS FOR THE MESSENGERS TO PICK UP AND DELIVER. ON MONDAY TWO DAYS' MAIL HAS TO BE HANDLED BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THE MAIL ROOM IS CLOSED ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. IN THE CASE OF ENVELOPES IDENTIFIED AS BIDS THE OPENING TIME IS NOTED AND IF IT IS CLOSE TO OPENING TIME THE MAIL ROOM WILL CALL THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE; IF THERE IS SUFFICIENT TIME A MESSENGER WILL MAKE DELIVERY ON HIS REGULAR RUN. IT IS FURTHER REPORTED THAT ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1962, IN ADDITION TO RECEIVING THE HEAVY MONDAY MORNING MAIL LOAD, THE MAIL ROOM WAS SHORT ONE MAIL CLERK DUE TO LEAVE. (ONLY TWO MAIL CLERKS WERE AVAILABLE FOR THE WORK OF SORTING.)

IT APPEARS THAT UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS IN THE INSTALLATION MAIL ROOM THE HAWTHORNE BID ENVELOPE WOULD HAVE BEEN NOTED AND PRESUMABLY DELIVERED TO PROCUREMENT BEFORE THE BID OPENING. TWO CIRCUMSTANCES COMBINED ON THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 17 TO HAMPER NORMAL OPERATION IN THE MAIL ROOM; THE MAIL LOAD WAS HEAVY; AND ONE OF THE THREE SORTING CLERKS WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR DUTY. THESE TWO CIRCUMSTANCES CAUSED AN ABNORMAL DELAY IN DELIVERING THE HAWTHORNE BID TO THE BID ROOM AND, IN OUR OPINION, CONSTITUTED AN INSTANCE OF MISHANDLING WITHIN THE MEANING OF ASPR 2-303.2.

ACCORDINGLY, THE HAWTHORNE PAPER COMPANY'S LATE BID MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD.